Integrated Dairy Farm - experiences


Hi blissfarmer,

Please share your experiences of the same since it will be very useful to understand the differences as well as the other issues to this community, can continue on taking decision to buy the successful , suitable and value for money machines.

All the best. However, we are attaching the photo’s of today production of green fodder from my hydroponics machine of 500kgs per day production,only half a day of one labor is working on that. It’s continuously working since last march 2013.(may be few days stopped for some reasons like cleaning,power problem, delayed seed procurement etc.,)

otherwise the operation is absolutely no problem.

thanks and regards,



Hi blissfarmer,

Please share your experiences of the same since it will be very useful to understand the differences as well as the other issues to this community, can continue on taking decision to buy the successful , suitable and value for money machines.

All the best. However, we are attaching the photo’s of today production of green fodder from my hydroponics machine of 500kgs per day production,only half a day of one labor is working on that. It’s continuously working since last march 2013.(may be few days stopped for some reasons like cleaning,power problem, delayed seed procurement etc.,)

otherwise the operation is absolutely no problem.

thanks and regards,



Hello KasturiRaju

I am unable to understand how producing Hydroponic fodder is cost effective to you since you have been producing for last 8 months.
Almost all seeds are at least Rs. 15/kg.
The fodder has 90% moisture, and I am guessing from 1 kg you are getting 8 kg fodder.
Considering on dry matter basis, 10% of 8 kg is 800 gms, which means from 1 kg dry seed you are getting almost similar fodder dry matter.
Which means cost of 1 kg fodder on DM basis is 15/0.01 which is Rs. 15.

Dont you think this is too costly, how are you managing? We had setup small unit for production by designing ourselves, but considering the seed cost, we dropped the idea. Its lying there for some day when seed costs will come down, or if we go through another drought season.

Consider alternative.
Maize silage even when procured from outside will cost you not more than Rs. 2.5 / kg. It has 30% DM which means cost per kg DM is 2.5/0.3 which is Rs. 8. This is almost half the cost of hydroponic fodder. If you grow your own maize, cost drops further.

Whereas in hydroponic fodder, cost is minimum Rs. 15/kg, plus you have to invest lacs on the machine along with daily operational costs.

Please let me know if I am missing out something, I am not questioning the concept, just that I dont think it applies to our country where climate, water and people are available and suitable.

What is your view on the nutrition side?



@Harish patil
What is ur opinion of genetic improvement - [color=red]Can be done through AI if you have reliable AI solution in your area. My view is that too pure a breed for Indian conditions will bring its own set of issues, better to have some Indian blood in the cow.[/color]
How feasable is using bull for conception in long time running dairy farm. - [color=red]Results are almost 100%, worldwide it is proven to have better result than AI.[/color]
What is the cost of per conception maintaining a bull - [color=red]Have not calculated as our bull is one more member of the family without whom dairy will not progress. Daily grass requirements is same as milking cow, plus around 2-3 kg concentrates.[/color]
Have u ever thought of your own AI set up - [color=red]yes but not yet found training. If trained, I want to use it as option 2 after bull.[/color]
Have u ever tried growing legumes to cut down cattle feed cost - [color=red]Legumes may be very good for the cow, but very difficult to manage on large scale. And you will need lot of land to cultivate, of course all depends on how many cows you plan to rear.[/color]
What is ur opinion on azzola cultivation - [color=red]Not worth the efforts. Too many issues and expensive.[/color]
How do u calculate the energy and production feed required for cow - [color=red]A vast subject which cannot be discussed here. Refer to some websites like or, or books like Livestock Production Management - C. K. Thomas, N. S. R. Sastry.[/color]
How do u calculate the production cost of milk - [color=red]Fodder + Feed + Labour + Misc(Electrical, diesel for generator etc.) + Medical(Medicines, Doctor Visit) + Supplements(Mineral Mix., Calcium syrup, etc.)[/color]

I suggest you start a new topic where each can be discussed by other members so as not to mix different posts.

Good luck.


Hello Nikhil,

You are right on bare comparison .

while analysing why can’t you compare all the parameters and compare the price of both conventional fodder and hydroponics fodder’s output i.e. like protein, nutrient’s, ME etc., Instead of jumping into the bare conclusions.

To-day, farmers are struggling hard to get a labourer and water ( in our country only)if few more bhagya schemes introduced, even farmers can leave/forget farming. For your information, even drinking water has become a major concern, problem in more than 65 % of our state. Apart from this, how many hours power (so called  free power) is available out of urban areas, are you aware ? to lift the water from borewells to wet your land. Apart from this, how many days you can pump the ground level water like this ?

Last year government has spend Rs.15000/per ton to procure paddy hay from coastal Andhra pradesh to distribute the farmers at subsidised rate of Rs.2/kg to survive from the droughts and famine. Can you find the costing for the same on DM basis and find the viability or the correctness of decisions. (around 15 crore spent ).

To-day, we are not supporting or discouraging the hydroponics. we have to innovate lots of alternatives rather than claiming 100 years old practices to save nature,costs,flexibility as well as to loose the confidence and leave the farming activities in our country. Their was a time in this nation TV,Mobile,Vehicles,Tractors,earthmoving equipments were treated expensive and not fit to this country. But, to-day these are all become very essential from A - Z category peoples, irrespective of its virtual / non-virtual benefits. If, farmers are encouraged by the govt. , start to use more and more innovative methods, definetly the cost of the equipments ,technology improves and prices will down fall like how it is happened in all electronic ,domestic gadgets.

Instead of using ground water un-reasonably for the fodder and other activities without innovating the conservative methods, surely vegetables,spices,fuits will multiplied to ten folds of to-day prices. ( you are seen the fate of pepper,Rice, Dals,onion etc.,)

One more suggestion, If you are planned for long time Dairy Farmer/entrepreneur never use the bull which you are nurturing on your own in your farm, for breeding your future cows.

This is how to-day we are lost all our native cows , by not implementing the scientific methods to save them. Hence, to-day GIR has become GIRLANDO.

At last, Hydroponics can’t be compared with the irrigated farming fodder production or recommended to use where water is available abundantly/naturally round the year. This is exclusively recomended for places where water is precise, land is of higher cost like more than 5-10 lacs per acre, labour is concern, climate is favouring only for two crops etc., .

Since, you are quoted If the maize of 65 -70 days old is available at the rate of Rs. 2/- to 2.50 let us know to buy to our farm delivery of any quantity.

hope you will start to understand the conern and efforts.


Hello KasturiRaju,
I am sorry if I have hurt your feeling, all I wanted was a discussion.

But in your post, I have not found any reason for going for Hydroponic fodder.
The daily operating expenses does not make sense, at that price, you can feed concentrates which are more than double in nutrition and involve no work other than procuring from market.
I should stop here.
I know this discussion will become messy and not possible or practical to discuss on this forum, so its better that  I wish you good luck, ultimately if you are able to manage with hydroponic fodder then good for you.

One more thing, can you share nutrition aspects of hydroponic fodder on DM basis, wanted to compare with conventional fodder.

About bull, I agree we should not use bulls born in our farm, we retain only bulls which have been crossed with different parents. Like once in a while, some cow has to be inseminated artificially, if it delivers bull, we keep it for replacement.



Hello Nikhil,

Fodder or animal feed is any feedstock used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. “Fodder” refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves in pasture and grazing land. It includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and also sprouted grains and legumes. The fodder system we are focusing on here today is a hydroponically grown, quick turn over, and cost effective system.

With many regions of the world experiencing record droughts and peak water becoming more of a concern for many businesses and individuals who own and raise livestock, seeking options and solutions to maintain the health and growth of their animals can be a challenge. Sprouting fodder on site can be a dependable and low cost source of feed and nutritional supplementation, creating a local, on demand feed source that can build great resiliency and independence for homesteaders and those in agricultural industries.
The technique is not new and has been used and investigated for many years but has started to see a resurgence in use throughout the world as water and growing issues become more prevalent. As a response to extreme droughts, a number of commercial companies (many in Australia) have been developed. These companies offer large scale systems that are able to produce many tons of fodder feed per day and offer new options for ranchers and livestock producers.

Not only do fodder systems use less water than field grown hay, they also offer many other advantages, including higher productivity through increased nutritional value. In this article, we will explore the benefits and challenges of small to medium scale hydroponic fodder growing to produce localized feedstock.

The Basics of Sprouting Fodder like sprouting grains for human consumption (wheatgrass, beans, alfalfa, etc.), growing fodder as sprouted grains is relatively easy and has a rapid turnover from start to finished product. The typical sprouting time for fodder is 6 - 8 days and can be adjusted depending on what stage of growth you want to harvest at and the type of animal your are feeding. Many different grains can be used - wheatgrass, barley, oats, etc. Barley is the most popular. The basic method of growing fodder is as follows:
The fodder will grow from a dry seed to a 6 -7 inch plant in a little as 6 days. With multiple trays being rotated on a daily basis, once can grow a continuous supply of fresh feed with very little space, power, and water requirements. And the great part is that it is digestible by a great number of animals, from chickens and rabbits, to goat, horses, and heifer’s, cows, this living food can compliment the diets most farm animals.

Benefits of Sprouted Fodder:

There are many benefits to be found from using fresh barley grass and spouted grains that has been organically and hydroponically grown. When barley is sprouted, it releases many vitamins and minerals as well as converting hard to digest starches in easily digestible proteins. Some of the benefits include:
• Water use reduction and conservation compared to field irrigation
• Reduction in overall daily feed costs.
• Significant reduction if feed waste - the entire root mass is consumed with the grass
• Increased nutritional value in the feed
• High yield in a very small area
• Increase your independence by growing food for your animals with no need for cultivated land
• High digestibility
• Vitamins & mineral saturation
• Phytate reduction for pH normalization
• Enzymatic activity increase
• Increases in Omega 3, amino acids, natural hormones
• Hedge the increase in feed costs by pre-buying large quantities of grain to have on hand
• On-demand availability of fresh green feed 365 days a year - all season access.
• Fodder Nutritional Analysis
Barley Analysis Performed Unit Result
Protein % 35.50
Ether Extract % 3.40
Moisture % 88.00
Ash % 3.60
Crude Fibre % 15.20
Acid Detergent Fibre % 19.00
Nitrogen Free Extract % 61.30
Metabolisable Energy MJ/Kg 11.40
Vitamin B1 mg/100g 0.20
Vitamin B1 mg/100g 0.10
Vitamin B1 mg/100g 4.00
Vitamin B1 mg/100g 0.20
Calcium mg/100g 150
Copper mg/100g 1.30
Iron mg/100g 7.20
Potassium mg/100g 180.00
Magnesium mg/100g 150.00
Manganese mg/100g 2.30
Sodium mg/100g 36.00
Phosphorous mg/100g 150.00
Zinc mg/100g 4.60

By introducing barley grass (hydroponics) into your feeding regime, the  cows are automatically hydrated as the root mass and shoots are packed full of water and nutrients. The shoots are very easily digested and therefore give the animal a much higher percentage of digestible energy. The much improved digestion reduces the incidence of colic, and aids the process of digesting hay, which may be fed alongside the fresh fodder. A recommended mix of barley fodder with a reduced amount of hay gives a good balance of forage for extended periods.

There are many important ways to reduce the onset of colic in cows. A few important ones are as follows: 1.A regular feeding schedule with 2/3 small feeds each day.  2.Access to clean water. 3.Provide at least 60% of digestible energy from forage provide good forage for as much of the day as possible.

All natural foods (including grasses) contain sugars which are necessary for humans and animals for energy and the digestive process.  Feed that has added sugar (eg molasses, sugar beet) is commonly used but the cow’s system is not designed to cope with it and can use up the valuable energy they are supposed to provide so they should be avoided.  Barley shoots have natural sugars in the correct quantities to provide cows with the necessary energy for healthy living.

Interestingly, the juice from barley shoots is given to diabetics to LOWER and control the blood sugar levels.


And here the question/efforts is not making you to accept the hydroponics. It is clarify you about the same. However, the suitability of the hydroponics is highly individual choice based on the type of farm, place and structure/position of the farm etc.,

Secondly, regarding suggestion on bull usage  for re-production concern is  not just replace by the new born males, for commercially operating dairy farms shall  concentrate on future healthy, performance cows. Which can possible only with progeny tested bulls Siemens. If still you are not clear, you can take advice or clarification about the same from your surrounding any experienced vet.

Finally, I was trying to present you to  evaluate the  total content of the hydroponics as well as conventional fodder in conversion of value in a way …such that…1kg cotton or 1 kg steel…which one weigh more…!!!

Don’t worry, it will not hurt or messy till everyone’s interest is to find solutions to starving farmer’s everlasting problems in our country.

Keep expressing.



hello sir, this is manish from Patna, Bihar. I want to start my own dairy farm so please help me out by answering these question:-

  1. If there is any free handbook or catalog please send me
  2. How much land require to start a farm.
  3. For 5 cows and buffaloes.
  4. Machinery required and their cost.
  5. Shed building should be.
  6. feed and feeding method to get more milk.
  7. Minimum lands and money required to start with.
    thanks & regards


Dear All,

Its an insightful and enlightening discussion and I thank all of you for the contributions.

I have received the machine, but decided not to use it presently (I am trying to get a little hang of siuation before I get into it) I am negoatiating with a maize seed provider the cost is around 13/kg but the transportation will be on me and it will only be economical if I get it in bulk.

I was told by that the moisture content in the seed should be 12% - Mr. Raju if you can give your inputs on this point, the seed supplier is saying he has 14% moisture in the seed.

I have few questions:

  1. Do I need any specific license to store AI Siemen in the farm?
  2. What is the cost of nitrogen filled container and how often the gas needs to be refilled & the cost?
  3. Any reliable supplier in Nashik/Pune/Mumbai region for AI support?
  4. Insurance - which the best insurance company (I am told by local agent only cows > 2 years of age can be insured) I think its not true pls. clarify?

Presently I am planning to feed (this is what the cows are used to eating from the farmer I am purchasing)

  1. Wheat Bhoosa
  2. Chana Chuni
  3. Oil Cake
  4. Pallet concentrate feed

They are mixed in a bucket and soaked atleast for an hour before giving it to the cows (Its like a porridge)

This is given twice a day ( thrice for cows giving upward of 25 Litres) - I need help with the quantity and suggestion for any changes

Other than this Napear Grass is available which will be cut in chaft cutter and fed - what quantity & timing

What is most interesting is the when a calf is born - the farmer for the first 3 months give milk (preferbly mother’s milk) 3 liters per day (3 times 1 liter each) which is obviously an expensive proposition which he is convinced gives health cows and in his farm cows achieve heat in 11-12 month (which is against whatever I have ready I expected it to be 14-16 months)

Happy Milking,




please go through the various articles…in this forum and  addition to that websites like[color=red][/color],[color=red][/color] for a basic informations and as a first hand information [color=red]tips on dairy farming [/color]…please.

all the best.




hello nikhil,

As a coincidence the articles have come on 09th december 2013, times of india and 13-12-13 about the present requirement to make success the farming, ground water level, global warming…attached the same to share everyone’s.

feel free to communicate,




Some Qs on the Hydroponic systems -

  1. What could be approx cost to setup a 500 kg / day hydroponic fodder system, including the required diesel generator backup ?

  2. Greenfield Hydroponics offers Solar based systems. How do these systems work when there is not sufficient Solar energy (especially in monsoon seasons in kerala) ?


Dear All,
I need some advice

I have got the animals from Mysore (2 Days of transportation with breaks - 12 Milch Animals and rest calfs or pregnent in the last month or so)

The vet came and started with de-worming and given some cold medicine to two of the cows & advised to continue for some time with the feed the animals are acustomed to:

Two concerns:

  1. The milk production in Mysore was around 210 Litres/day - But on the first two days we could get around 180 Litres not the production is around 165 litres & I am concerned - Am I doing something wrong or any suggestions (supplements etc.)

  2. Due to napier unavailablity I am giving Luserne grass along with paddy straws to animals

  3. Cows are not drinking as much as water they ideally should - we are offering water thrice a day but I doubt any animal is drinking more than 50 Litres a

Please give your valuable inputs

Wish you all Merry X-Max & a great year ahead

I am struggligng to get the electricity metere up & running so Not started wtih Hydroponic yet.



water and feed should always be available in the manger for cattle to have when ever they need.

as they are new to your place they take some time to adjust.

cattle are just like our children who need pampering all the time . just caress them , wash them , massage them and they will be alright.

try giving different feeds mrng/eve .




Dear Mr Kasturiraju, Mr Ganapathi & Mr Nikhil,

I was searching for good practical knowledge on dairy farming, and chanced upon this discussion. Firstly it is a great website, so thanks to the administrators. [glow=red,2,300]Secondly, a big thanks to you three, for singlehandedly taking a seminar on best practices and practical experience which is like a continuing learning experience.[/glow] I started from page 1 of the discussion and read till the last post, and I am not exaggerating that it has given me more knowledge and confidence, than all the research which I had done over the past 1 month. So thank you all again  :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

It is sad to see lack of any inputs here from my part of country - I am from Gurgaon, Haryana, where I plan to start a dairy farm. In coming days and months, I would keep flooding you with my requests for help, so please bear me. Also I plan to travel to Bangalore and Chennai soon and would be grateful if I could meet you all personally and visit your farms. I would get in touch with you soon for this.

Best Wishes for a Milky New Year 2014
Summeer Bajpai


hi am a newbie
i wanted to start dairy farming with 10 cows later i will expand to about 30 or more (even 50-60) in june(keeping in mind -fodder has to be cultivated -infrastructure needs to developed)

medical professional
i did dairy training from KVK Baramati in 2010
training from SLBTC 2011
likely i will be working alone with 1 male and 1 female part time workers
i am a hard -very hard worker
NO family support

dairy is not just for money IT WAS MY CHILDHOOD DREAM

to workout feasibility i wanted to know few details
i dont want to invest heavily and any investment  would be future oriented

chaff cutter- 200kg/hr price(including motor etc etc)  brands if any , best place to buy

milking machine-wanted to purchase delaval BMS4

generator-10kva(wont go for costly ones)

weighing machine digital

milk chiller( i amm planning to use the ones which are used in most bakeries to keep icecreams)

good brands and their price

prebiotic and probiotic powder – brands and price

agrimin forte price

calcium supplements-brands and price

thanks everybody for this wonderful forum


Dear Nikhil,

see below video,

based on this technology Rashtrothana Goshala, Ghati subramanya. has developed a low cost hydroponics machine, as you were looking for some info I thought it would usefull to share.

Check todays Prajavani suplimentery sheet for more details.



i have started a trial on hydroponic fodder !!..all custom setup…

  1. it is in a 120 sq ft (12 ft X 10 ft) room.

  2. Installed an air conditioner (Bluestar 1 ton 5 star - Rs. 34.5K)…maintaining the temp of 21 degrees. Humidity comes down to 45-50%

  3. Started with 3 trays, total of 4 kg of Wheat (soaked for 16 hours, washed with bleach before putting it to trays)

  4. start date : 09-Apr-14, expected result on 16-Apr-14 : mold free yield of 25-30 kg grass

Pictures attached…

lets see how it goes…

-Ganapathi Bhat