Hi, I am interested in starting a diary farm in Kerala (Palakkad Dist). Owning 3 -4 Acres of land about 15 Kms interior. My profile: Management professional with 30+ yrs of diversified experience in Automobile Dealership industry, Life Insurance, Financial Services & Bio-medical equipments including general management, finance and general sales management. Can anyone advice me on this new venture.
Having 3-4 acres of land is fine. One acre will be enough for 5-8 cows for round the year feeding as one needs to avoid dependency on others especially for feeding, I mean you must have your own fodder cultivation. Be self reliant. Please ensure that you have sufficient water there, as you need water for fodder cultivation, cow drinking purposes, cow and shed cleaning - twice a day. There won’t be any difficulty in procuring hay in Palakkad. Try to grow different types of fodder like CO3, CO4, Sorghum, Fodder Maize, Legumes like Lucerne, Cow pea, Stylo and tree like fodder Subabul, Glyricidia etc.
Start with breeds like Jersey, Swiss brown, Sunandini, Vechur cows, kasarcode dwarf in the initial stages and once you are familiar with the procedures, you can go for high yielders like Holstein Fresian.
Try to feed more with locally available resources like coconut cake, gingelly cake, groundnut cake and brans of rice, wheat, maize with cotton seed cake in paste form after grinding which will increase the fat percentage in milk. Feed minimum 25 kg greens for lactating cows. Give around 80- 100 liters of water. Ensure that water is there in front of the cows always, I mean 24 hours, possible by installing water bowls connected to overhead water tank. Give enough Calcium and Mineral supplementation as required. De-worm the cows upon arrival and ensure reduction of worm load in cows so that feed conversion is to the maximum.
Hay should be fed in the evening, which motivates the cow to regurgitate resulting in better digestion and absorption. Try to liquidate milk selling it to consumers directly for better profit or try converting it to butter, ghee, sweets which will fetch you better margins. Have good system for rearing the calves as it will fetch you good money in 2 years time.
Dairy Farming is a profitable venture but the owner should keep his eyes and ears open in all areas like cow purchase, land development, shed construction, feed procurement, milk sales, collection, day to day operation, veterinary expenses etc. Have a good tie up with a veterinarian nearby and go as per his advice for De-worming, Vaccinations, drug procurement etc. Anything that comes out of a cow is money. Let it be dung, urine or milk. You should know where & how to market it.
srivinayakatvm at gmail.com
Dear Mr. Murali
Thank you very much for your valuable inputs.
Before starting this new venture, I would like to visit some farm wherein I can live for some days to learn their day-to-day activities / process. Could you guide me on this matter.
My suggestion is to look for Indian breeds as they will give best milk. I am in Hyderabad and here people are moving away from milk of foreign breeds like Jersey. Foreign breeds give A1 protein milk which will cause diseases like diabetes etc. Indian breeds will give A2 protein milk and is good for health. Please read the book The Devil in Milk for more understanding. Also there is a study done by Indian immunological Institute on the same. even though the price will be more but people are ready to buy the A2 milk considering the health benefits.