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If you are interested in starting dairy farming, and wondering will it be profitable for you and your family, don’t worry, we will tell you everything you need to know about it, as well as how to make it profitable for you.
Before we go into detail, I just wanted to tell you: yes, dairy farming can be profitable, but, it depends on many factors which we will explain in this text.
In order for milk production to be of the highest quality and to achieve a more profitable business, with high yields and good animal health, a number of important factors need to be taken into account. Farm management and the economic effects of family dairy farms are mostly influenced by technological and economic parameters
Management of the farm (dairy farm or herd) involves the thoughtful management of the technical, technological and organizational production process.
It deals with decisions that determine the efficiency and profitability of the economy. Today, on farms anywhere in the world, the management functions are the same or very similar, and they include planning, organizing, managing, managing human resources, and controlling production.
The rule also applies that in a market environment it is necessary to apply the principles of management as an influential factor of business. Its basic principles apply to farms of any type, size, or geographical location. The economic effects of milk production are directly related to the level of management appropriate to the type and sort of production.
Technological and economic parameters of dairy farming
The main factors determining the impact of management on the economic effects of family dairy farms are technological and economic parameters. We will explain them in more detail.
Technological parameters are production results per head (cow), ie level of milk production and quality of milk, while economic parameters are income and costs in milk production, especially the structure of costs of feeding and level of coverage of variable costs.
In the technical-technological process of production on a dairy farm, there are several types of management in the dairy industry, such as management of forage production and use of surface (land), livestock housing, feeding, reproduction, milking and milk handling, production controls, economic and financial management, animal health and ethological access, and other management components.
Animal production facilities are very important in milk production. Today’s high levels of cow production require both a modern approach and modern technology. The technological characteristics of the facilities on one such farm are, of course, the freeway of keeping cows, the newer barns housing shelter with a feeding system at will. Human physical labor in such facilities is minimized.
Of course, a large number of cows is also required for large production, and very intensive milk production involves the use of the Holstein-Friesian breed to a greater extent, although the Simmental breed is very satisfactory in our conditions.
Farms with traditional technology, for the most part, have a linked way of keeping cows, and physical labor is increased in such facilities. The facilities include a small number of cows, mainly Simmental breeds.
Feed production planning for dairy farm
A very important factor of management is the planning of feed production. There is often a lack of quality planning of feed production in relation to the capacity (needs) of the barn. For example, maize silage does not have enough nutrition for the whole year and thus there is no feeding stability. Alfalfa, as the queen of culture in terms of quality, is a great contributor to production if it is in the feed.
However, the acidic soils that are predominantly present in some important “milk pools” are not suitable for alfalfa. The situation is also poor due to insufficient investment in calcification.
In order to improve management, each farmer or farm manager should ensure that he has carefully planned forage production. For each new sowing season, areas should be planned according to the capacity of the cows in the barn.
Corn silage as an energy voluminous feed should be present in the feed for stable feeding throughout the year, ie until new silage. Approximately 1 ha of silage should be available for 6 cows.
The storage of food on farms is linked to the facilities available for that purpose. Basically, there is a lack of quality storehouses, there is too much improvisation, and silo-piles for storing high-loss silage are an example. In general, the inputs are large and few silos are tailored to the needs of the farm. With high corn grain moisture, drying costs are high and mycotoxins are a potential danger.
Feeding management on dairy farm
Feeding management in milk production is significant for several reasons, one of them being that it accounts for the largest share of costs in the overall cost structure.
Considerable attention should be paid to the feeding of cows as it significantly affects the level of production, animal health, reproduction, and there is a large difference in access to feeding at different stages of production. It depends on the availability of voluminous feed and other feed components that are proportionally involved in the animal’s diet and quality. Also, it is different for each landscape and production system.
Soil quality and fertility issues generate poor volume production. Forage is dominated by the production of hay, which is extremely uneven in quality. There are a number of other negative factors that often indirectly affect the yields and quality of food produced, such as the high fragmentation of land particles in the field, and the poor quality and poor use of pastures.
In general, due to a number of such negative effects, too many concentrates are in the rations (corn, sugar beets), and consequently, due to the presence of a large amount of readily degradable carbohydrates in the meal, the acidity of the rumen (acidosis) is infrequent.
How to solve those problems
There are often questions about how to solve all these problems and what to do on your own farm to remedy the situation.
As there is no magic wand, it is necessary to approach the problem as seriously as possible and to solve it continuously, one by one. Reducing feed costs can significantly improve the economy of milk production. With the help of professionals, it is necessary to properly approach problems from the beginning, and the beginning can be considered feeding in the most sensitive period of transition when the cow is preparing for new lactation.
The highest influence on the consumption of dry matter has the quality of voluminous feed, and it is the basis of rational production. For example, experts from the Animal Husbandry and Field Counseling Services jointly prepare advice and recommendations for milk producers for the production of feed used according to the recommendations in the feed after the preparation and optimization of the meal.
The barns use different machinery and equipment to feed the cows, which significantly reduces the use of human labor in these processes, but it is recommended that in such investments consult with specialist advisors on the optimal use of such devices.
Another important factor with a major impact on production profitability is reproduction management.
The most important indicators of cow fertility are the inter-calving period (approximate duration of 400 days for Simmental / 437 for Holstein-Friesian breed), time to the first insemination after calving, and duration of service period (130 Simmental / 167 Holstein-Friesian), followed by the indicator of success and calving index.
With good reproduction results, the goal is to get one calving per year, and to ensure this, the service period must be below 100 days. Possible causes of reproductive disorders are often metabolic disorders (ketosis), placental retardation, metritis, hoof disease. Feeding may include energy deficiency and/or excess or protein deficiency.
A few good recommendations from field counselors can significantly affect the status of reproduction in a herd, and it is also recommended to agree with the veterinarian systematic reviews of puerperium cows.
Next, ensure that the daily ration is balanced according to the lactation stage and production level.
Milking and feeding are the main farm works, which consume about 40% of the time, including preparing and cleaning equipment.
Mastitis is known to be the most expensive disease in milk production. In order to improve the situation, the way of milking should be adapted to the capacity of the farm, regular daily, monthly and annual inspections of the milking equipment are required, as proper hygiene and the correct machine are a guarantee of the healthy udder and quality milk.
The secretion of cows infected with clinical mastitis is very important. Investing in milking parlors and milking equipment should not overburden the price of milk.
Everyone wants to have all the machines, which also significantly affects the overload of production costs. In addition, most farms have many old machines with frequent breakdowns.
Try to see what you really need, or get advice from specialists, and buy only on their advice, you don’t really need all the mechanization.
Follow all these steps, take advice from people who know and are specialized in this business, don’t spare your costs on them, because they will spare much more for you, and set your dairy farm in the right way from the start.