Planning to start a dairy farm? Here is all you need to know
If you are a Kenyan who grew up in rural Kenya, it is easier to imagine starting a dairy farm is simple and straightforward. This is because almost every rural home in Kenya keeps cattle for subsistent, commercial or both purposes. And while starting a dairy farm is strictly not complex, there are things you must do and know to make the process simple. Here we discuss some of them.
- Talk to the experts
It doesn’t matter how many cows you looked after growing up, talking to experts with years of experience in dairy farming will save you a lot of headaches down the line. Why wait to make the same grave mistakes when you can learn from them to be better. But even more, experts will guide you on how to actually run a dairy farming business, the basics and systems you need, where to get the best equipment and so much more.
To find experts, you can utilize the internet, attend dairy farming events, shows and exhibitions or simply walk over to an established dairy farm with your notebook. At Feed and Fodder, we advise farmers both new and experienced on diverse issues especially with regards to feeding programs. One thing we have learnt is that something may have worked for one farmer but it does not necessarily mean it will work for you.
- Think about Feeding for your cows
Dairy cows require a well-thought-out feeding program in order for them to get the nutrients they need to grow and produce more milk. Figuring out, earlier on, how you will get these nutrients to your herd is crucial. Some farmers may prefer to produce their own feed, others may choose grazing their cows or a mix.
At Feed and Fodder, we have over the years partnered with farmers to provide the finest maize silage in Kenya – which is harvested at the right stage, wrapped in economic bales for all farmers – 350Kgs approx. We ensure the farmer is able to provide their cows with all necessary nutrients for body growth which translates to high milk production.
- The Money
Dairy farming is a business that could be classified as capital intensive – but all this depends on how big your farm is and how many animals you intend to keep. In order to run a successful dairy farm that can support itself and make a profit, you need to invest on the land itself, purchase of the cows, hire farmhands, and the tools and equipment you need for efficiency. Before starting a farm, it is important to have all these items figured out. You need to have an idea of how many animals you want to begin with, what is the labor requirement, and what equipment will you need.
- Running the business
To survive and prosper, a business must achieve its bottom line – turning a profit. For this, it requires an organized business plan, efficient business systems that work, and a manager or management who can be able to bring every aspect together. Merely being a good dairy farmer is not enough, you must be a descent business person too – or hire persons who are good at what you are not.
There you go. While there are many things you need to understand before starting a dairy farm, we believe the above will set you on a path towards learning more on what you need to take that next step forward.