A start up plan - need expert views

Dear Farmnest Team;

Finally after about 2 months of research on the internet, talking over the phone to a few experts. I have decided to follow my desire/dream and take farming as a full time occupation. Since this is where my heart has been for a long time, I see my full dedication towards agriculture in future too.

Land availability (money to buy)
Fear of losses (seeing many farmers take extreme step  :-\  :'(  :frowning:  … )
Lack of motivation/self motivation have kept me away from farming for a long time now.

But the latest techniques, few success stories in this forum and the amount of help the established members give to the newbies like me has helped me take a decision to get into it  :slight_smile:  almost 12 years in the corporate world and learning the do’s and don’ts of successful business strategies; I completely agree that there is no difference in agriculture and business. Treat/Plan it as a business start-up and reap the benefits.

I have taken up this approach and designed a 5yr plan to establish my venture. Of course this is the first 5yrs and the venture would carry on for many such 5 year plans to follow.

I want to put down the plan I have here in this valuable forum, so that I can get some feedback from the experts and also ensure the knowledge is shared in open and free to those people who have thought about farming but are not sure if they have to go ahead or not. Once the basic foundation is done on papers/planning stage, I will hire a professional consultant to help me in preparing the project report and give guidance on setting up things – of course paid help  :slight_smile:  ;D

For the ease of reading; I will put the project plan in next few post breaking it down into stages.

Plan A: Dairy Farming
Plan B: Stevia Cultivation (Exploring Hydroponic method)
Plan C: Growing Vegetables using PH, hydroponically
Plan D: Flowering shrubs (variety not decided yet)
Plan E: Poultry merged with fishery – after the above 3 stabilizes, maybe in 3rd year
Plan F: Poultry with ornamental fish breeding – after A, B and C is well set, maybe in 3rd year

Primary Project (Plan A) – Dairy Farming

Plan is to start with 12 HF cows, buying 2 cows every even month (Feb, April, June….) to ensure the milking/calving process is a regular process and milk supply is maintained throughout the year without dry periods. 

        Cow shed will be built with provision for 12 cows in a single row leaving enough space to ensure another row of 12 cows can be built. However the final plan will be to have 5 such rows with a total of 60 cows. I chose 5 keeping a 5yr lactation period of each cow.

        Cows will be purchased at rate of 2 cows every alternate month. Keeping 5 yr lactation cycle, after buying 60 cows, 2 cows would have completed 5yrs in the farm and will be sold to other people who might be fine with lower yield such as small family. If we have made enough money, donate it to some people in need / ashrams / goshalas

        Additional provision is provided for 6 Calves and 6 quarantine sheds with proper insulation to ensure virus/germs/bacteria do not affect the neighbours

        Milking using the milking machines – hand operated to start with and after about a year move to complex set up with provision to get milk out of all 60 cows with minimum labour.

        Feed for the cows will be grown hydroponically using feeder machines. With a 50-60KG machine to start with and install 1 ton machine in due course. Dry grass and other nutrients to be sourced from the local market or the nearest Kisan Vikas Kendra.

        For transporting milk from the dairy to the Nandini milk collection center, the plan is to start with a small Maruti 800 car with removable seats – remove seat put in milk container holder (custom made) – remove holder and put the seat when transporting people  :sunglasses:. There is also an option of Tata sierra I’m exploring as we will get that also at almost same price – 50K

        Use the cow dung for vermicomposting once a good quantity is collected, until then, use it for applying it to the floor outside the cow shed. I have been told that it prevents lot of bacterial activities – but I just like the feel of walkin on it ground feels so clean and light green colour looks nice too 

        1 important addition which I think is a must in my shed is 9.1 channel music system with surround sound. I want my cows to enjoy music (research shows it calms down the mood and increases the yield as well) healthy and happy cows = happy me  :slight_smile: maybe a saturday night disco mix for them too  :wink:  :sunglasses:  :stuck_out_tongue: 

        As a recreational activity I plan on periodic open air grazing for the cows too, but this depends entirely on how much land I have at my disposal for this and how many cows are to be let out at a time. Don’t want to over crowd the grazing field

        Another thought is to have a pipeline of water run on top of the cows with 1 shower dedicated for each cow. This will reduce the pain of carrying water or using hose pipes to bathe the cows and wash their shed.

        Also considering to install cow mats for each cow, still researching where to get the best quality so that my cows get solid grip and super comfort.

Note: Project B, C, D… is decided but yet to be written down in detail again, for ease of reading I will write it in a later stage. Request all you experts to give inputs about the primary plan. 

One tip, dont do too many things. Concentrate on one aspect of farming and grow big. If dairy then aim for 100+ cows in long run, if PH then aim for 3-4 acres, poultry with 50000 birds, etc.

Become champion of any one aspect. Then you will be happy and successful. From experience, I can say that it is very tough to manage multiple farming activities single handedly, espicially since nowadays good managers and labours are hard to find. You wont do justice to either and your personal life will be more stressful than corporate life.

Good luck

Hi Nikhil,

Thank you for the feedback and I agree with your view that full attention cannot be given if we try doing too many things at a time. I already have a team - within the family who is doing dairy farming in a very small backyard scale. So my role is to train them on how to use the new techniques (get them to be trained by an expert) and let him manage the dairy part. Marketing of milk is not an issue as we have a Nandini collection center very close by. I will be mainly focusing on Hydroponics, growing the vegetables and marketing them. With current technology of timers and pH gauges available, I think this can be do able with a couple of skilled/unskilled manpower.

Ofcourse i will gauge the situation and time at hand and decide on other ventures slowly. The idea is to have multiple sources of income as a backup to ensure revenue is flowing and loan repayments are not impacted.

Although Im pretty sure on what is to be done, I have put up the idea here for people who have experience to point out my mistakes and some detailing which I might have missed out. Im open for suggestions and am desperately wanting the negetives of this idea, so that I can work around and tune up the plan.  :slight_smile:

Hi Nitin,

To implement your ideas you need alot of money but don’t expect that much returns in dairy farming, first how much investment you have and how many days you can survive without returns.

dairy farming is very stressful and need a lot of fodder and need own people to do all activities, DO NOT depend on labour, Once get to know that you are depended on them they will reap your money out of you.

Be careful but good luck.

Hello Nitin,

I suggest you to attend Mr. Subash Palekar’s natural farming workshop before you go full swing on farming. Even i have tried hydroponic, compost based farming methods. However, after attending Palekar’s workshop, I believe that Natural farming is the best approach.

Please note, this is my personal opinion. I am not trying to say Natural farming is the best or that is what you should go far. I have not implemented Natural farming. So, i do not have any practical knowledge.

My advise is to go and understand  it and then make your decision, before you start investing…

-Ganapathi Bhat

Hi Nithin…
Firstly I would like to appreciate your decision on taking up farming as full time work after working for such a long time in Corporate World.The Step is indeed wise as working for self is always better than working for a company and making the owners rich.
Dairy farming is good step you have chooses. I ain’t no expert but however I do visit various Dairy farms so as to keep myself updated.
Choosing HF cows is the first right step you have taken since they are well adapted to Indian climates and surroundings.
Expanding it by 2 Cows every second months seems OK if you have that kind of principal with you after starting it up.
Milk is one commodity that can be taken even on your door step by the consumers and would never be Enough. However, Modifying the Maruti seems nice option  :wink:.
Surely if its a big farm, the cows would enjoy it as they need to stretch out a bit during the course of the day (the idea of Music for the Cows was Hilarious as well).
A Small sprinkler for each cow would be helpful and Cow Mats are must. Firstly they provide them cushioning effect, secondly it decreases the chances of the Knuckles getting hurt.
Setting up a small bio gas plant would be advantage as it can be used for a lot many things (producing electricity is one thing, using the fuel for baking stuff for cows is another). The waste can still be used as compost.
Using a manual milking machine initially is also quite a wise decision, however the automatic too does cost only about 5-6K extra it seems.
Getting Dry fodder should not be problem and try to grow the green fodder on your Own (Use the Compost in the field and get the most out of it. Its not that difficult).
Many of the works can be carried out by Unskilled Labor. Try to manage by your own as much as you can initially. Learn and teach others too. It will help you eventually.
Good luck for your farm. Keep Updated.

Thank you for the feed back guys,

After speaking to a few experts, my confidence levels are growing higher. I will surely keep you guys posted on how things shape up, with pics of the build too.

Special thanks to Mr. Manne from this forum in helping with project plan initialization. :slight_smile:

All the very best

Hi your idea is good. What area and investment do you have in mind to start with…

Hi Group,

As you know in the market there are no of direct cattle feeds available like KMF,Godrej etc,even homemade feed also. Godrej is the best in South India as I have heard by many farmers. Which one would somebody suggest for the start up farmers and is there any effect on the cow health if we feed very high energy feeds from the beginning.
On the crops,is Jower Sailage good? Nothing can beat maize I know but still jower is multicut crop.
Correct me if I am wrong some where.