Today we shall be looking at the principles of profitable dairy farming. The implementation of industry-specific principles is quite crucial for the sustenance of high production. There are a lot of elements that need to be balanced in every dairy farm, but they all lead to desirable results. With careful planning and the utilization of the best farm training and technology, dairy farmers can make such a large amount of money, even without taking up side hustles.
The main principles of dairy farming ( herd management)
Nutrition and feeding
To be successful at dairy farming, you need to be conversant with the following element of nutrition and feeding:
- The quantity and the quality of the food you will need to ensure that your cows produce a given amount of milk. Cows should always have access to high-quality feeds, as well as clean water.
- The composition of the feeds- dairy cows need water, fiber, protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals in their feeds.
- The sources of high-quality feed, such as forage and silage.
- The proper feed storage techniques
- Feeding systems such as low bail, moderate-high bail, Partial Mixed Ration, Hybrid, TMR.
Reproduction and young stock
As a dairy farmer, you should be in a position to cater to the growth of your herd by having defined reproduction and young stock management plans. You can take care of this by having:
- A reproduction plan
- A transition period plan
- Routine examination of the cows to check the ones that are pregnant, ready to breed, or that have uterine or ovarian diseases.
- Up-to-date records
- Strict biosecurity measures.
Every dairy farmer should also take into account the needs of the newborn calves, as they develop to eventually become mature dairy animals. Calves should, for instance, consume about 4 liters of colostrum in not less than 12 hours after birth.
The harvesting of milk is also a key element in the determination of how profitable the venture is. Milk harvesting takes on a unique blend of cows, people, and equipment that is aimed at ensuring that enough milk is extracted in the right manner.
Here are some aspects that should be addressed for this to be achieved:
- Design your milking parlor to guarantee the comfort and safety of the cows
- The farmers should seek to evoke positive responses from their cows by using the right approach to keep them relaxed during the milking process.
- Milking equipment should be placed to clean dry teats. Teats should then be cleaned using an antiseptic after the milking process is over.
- Milking machines should be tested and sterilized regularly.
- Milk should be placed in the chilling units right after milking.
- A regular feeding and milking routine should be maintained.
There are five guiding principles when it comes to the achievement of good welfare outcomes for profitable dairy animals. These include:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst- the cows should have access to fresh water and a diet that enables them to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from discomfort – your cows should have a comfortable resting and living area.
- Freedom from pain, injury as well as diseases – you should strive to prevent the occurrence of disease and injury, and rapidly diagnose any illness then provide instant treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behavior – this can be achieved by offering enough space, and the right facilities.
- Freedom from fear and distress- the cows should have the right conditions and treatment to see to it that the cows do not succumb to mental suffering.
It is well-known that heat-stressed cows do not eat as well as they should, hence they end up producing less milk, and they have a hard time getting pregnant. Temperatures ranging between 8 and 24 degrees Celcius are ideal for most cow breeds. During the hot months, you should see to it that you control humidity levels. Cows do not have a very advanced heat dissipation system, as they mostly do that through breathing. The common sources of heat are their environment, the fermentation of rumen, as well as the transfer of body heat from other cows.
Farmers can intervene by taking up long-term shed design measures such as:
- Having ventilation in the highest parts of the shed roof
- Having north-south shed orientation to minimize heating effects resulting from the travel of the sun in the east-west path.
- Having a steep roof that allows for the escape of hot air.
- Seeing to it that large trees or other structures do not stand in the way of cool breezes.
If you are out to achieve the maximum profitability with your dairy animals, you should see to it that they are well-attended to whenever they fall ill. Sick cows need:
- Sheds that have non-slippery floors and enough beddings, access to water, and feed.
- Facilities set aside for the treatment of the sick cows.
- The use of the right treatment methods ( prevention is cheaper than treatment, so you can avoid incurring unnecessary costs by treating your cows in the right way).
The application of technology
Technology can play such a significant in the improvement of the performance of your farm. With the right technology, you can easily:
- Access accurate and automatic data on the growth of pasture.
- Analyze the production of milk for every cow, as you collect other details such as their fertility and health.
- Assess the comfort levels of the cows at any time of the day.
- Coordinate better with all people who have the expertise needed to facilitate the well-being of your cows, including farm advisors and veterinarians.
The application of technology in dairy farms is mainly through the use of:
- Sensors – these help with the detection of changes in the farm conditions and farm animals.
- Networks that help with the transmission and reception of data
- Data management to see help you store, process, and analyze raw data.
- AI and ML algorithms to help you analyze data and extract relevant suggestions for farm management.
- Farm user interface –these are computers or phones that farmers use to access the end results of the application of technology as they purport to make relevant changes.
- Software that brings together all elements of technology and ensures that they work as a seamless unit.
Looking for ways to maximize your moneymaking efforts as a farmer or investor? Get started by getting insights from experts in this field.
Thank you for making it to the end of my article on the principles of profitable dairy farming. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you will gladly share this information with a fellow investor or farmer.
I wish you well,
Eric, Investor and Team Member at Gold Retired!