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  • Writer's pictureDr. P.K. Shrivastava

DAIRY FARM ENTREPRENEURS - PLEASE NOTE

(ARTICLE BY DR PK SHRIVASTAVA, DAIRY BUSINESS CONSULTANT-22.09.20)


(1) YOU ARE FIRST A MANAGER THEN AN OWNER: Always think that you are a manager and you have to manage your Dairy Farm, none else will do it better for you. Your eyes should always be on investment Vs revenue and costs, mind on SOPs and fingers on each individual animal’s performance. As an able manager you have to devote more time in planning than execution. Ask yourself;


a. If you have interest in this business?


b. Can you stand by the side of the animal?


c. Can you sustain a brown color job?


d. Have you mastered “looking each unit of farm as a profit unit?”


e. Can you be able to devote sufficient time to look after this business?


f. Are you looking for proxy (someone else should look after your farm)? ALARM!


Animals needs your love with good ration.

(2) SEQUENCE YOUR EVENTS: You have sequenced the events looking to their priority like; you have;


a. Sufficient, fertile, suitable agricultural land for cultivation of green fodder?


b. Cultivated the green fodder at least 3 months in advance so that when the animals arrive at farm, they are served?


c. The chaff cutter in place with sufficient labor to look after the animals?


d. Suitable, sufficient land for holding your farm animals?


e. Consulted a “Subject Matter Specialists”?


f. Layout design ready to start shed construction?


g. Decided the floor and roofing materials?


h. Understood that each and every technical measurement for various sections of the farm is essential?


i. Planned the shed as “head to head” or “tail to tail” type?


j. Understood the pros and cons of both the types of sheds?


k. Gathered data from specialists for feeding the animals with required nutrients?


l. Understood the cropping pattern, varieties of fodders, alternate green fodders, enriching methods for fodder, etc.?


m. Understood the quantity & items an adult animal, heifer, calf, new born calf needs to be fed per day?


n. Arranged manufacturing of concentrate at your farm?


Do you know that feeding alone costs about 75-80% of the total recurring cost? As such, it should gain first priority. Feeding a heifer decides how much milk it will give in its life time. Feeding an adult animal 3 months before 1st parturition and during 1st dry period will decide how much milk this animal will give, in how many lactation. The owner must plan for feeding in advance.


Please do not think of establishing a Dairy Animal Farm, if you do not have sufficient land for holding the animal farm and cultivation of green fodder.


(3) BE IN CONTACT OF A “SUBJECT MATTER SPECIALIST” AS YOUR CONSULTANT:


a. Why do you need a consultant? Because you are going to deal with the “livestock” which will have all the processes of a living body. You are going to deal with “ruminants”, which has 4 stomach, their feed is different than human feed. Their breeding pattern is different, their milking schedule is different, their dung is precious, if converted into manure, etc.


b. Consultant saves your money to be invested in useless items. He assesses the usefulness of the item you are buying; he knows the technical specifications of the farm items; he calculates the cost benefit of all these purchases. Actually, you should have a consultant to guide you to save money.


c. He is your risk indicator, he flags-up at risk points, he alarms at danger, he is a path finder for me, he is a guide to take me to success.


It is dangerous to put your foot in this business, unless guided by a “subject matter expert” or take formal training for (1) establishing and (2) managing a Dairy Animal Farm business.

(4) PLAN AND CALCULATE YOUR DETAILED BUSINESS PLAN:


Ensure that taking all the costs, revenue and investments, you have calculated your draft project report, which may not be technically correct, but will give you a confidence to calculate your income and expenditure vs investment. Get it finalized with a “subject matter specialist”. Most of the time you will find that you left several costs, revenues and investments, etc., which the “Consultant” added into your final DPR (Detailed Project Report). The Consultant will save lots of your un-necessary investments and improve your net profit, using his/ her experiences.

(5) THE DAIRY ANIMAL FARM IS A BIO-SYSTEM:


If planned properly, if carried-out efficiently, it can stand alone. It has activity and process management system. Processes are planned by skilled persons and activities are carried out according to the processes. Animals generate humus, humus improves fertility of land, fertility of land helps good fodder production, fodder is fed to the animals and animals generate humus. In this chain of activities animals provide precious item called “milk”.

(6) BEGIN AT SMALL SCALE, LEARN, SCALE-UP, DIVERSIFY:

Best learning is “learning while doing”. Even if you lose a few lakhs, it is worth getting a practical training. Instead of getting trained in class and investing time and money, training at own farm is superior. However, it would never be in loss as the assets will return enough to offset the investment. By end of a year you would be confident of establishing and managing Dairy Animal Farm efficiently. To cross the hurdle, take support of “Subject Matter Expert”.

(7) WHAT TYPE OF CALF WILL BORN AT YOUR FARM, YOU SHOULD DECIDE:


Irony is that hardly any farm owner decides, as what type of calf should be born at the Farm? Means the semen variety/quality his/her animals should be inseminated. It is generally decided by the inseminator, as such, what ever semen is available, the inseminator uses in the animal, irrespective of its breed. Breed, shire and Semen should be decided by the owner, looking to the animals at farm. The calf born could be an asset or a liability, which is generally ignored by most of the farm owners. You must have a breeding policy and stick by that. Maybe you have to arrange semen much before the animal comes into heat, means you will be forced to keep a track of animal’s heat schedule.

(8) ANIMAL SELECTION & CULLING:

Animals are actually machine to convert a garbage (fodder) into precious item like milk. If you buy a wrong milk-machine (animal), you are ensuring wrong results. Study breed character of animals, which you are interested to buy, establish the picture of that breed character in your mind, match it with the animal available for sale, try to select the animals, which matched the most with the picture of the breed characters in your mind. Alternatively use the “Subject matter specialist’s” support. One cannot afford buying a wrong milk-machine and expect better out-put.

Culling is essential just to maintain the farm productivity. Culling means removing less productive animals (who did not fit to the productivity standard of the farm) from the farm. They could be very easily sold to the nearby village farmers at lower costs (at the book value). These animals are very good for a common farmer, while they are miss-match to the farm productivity. Further, you can assure the farmer to purchase the milk of this animal. The Farmer will be happy to get a regular assured market for the milk from this culled animal. However, by doing so, you shift the animal liability to the farmer, who would happily rear this animal for his daily income. In this way you can create lots of budding small animal farms around your farm.

(9) DISEASES:

Animals were living in jungle, hale & hearty. We the human’s domesticated them for our benefits. Simultaneously we have contributed diseases to them due to our style of rearing the animals. Look at the following, which would be easily seen at several dairy farms in India;

a. Mostly the farm animals are tied for longer period to force them to be on hard floor for long time, animals never like it, their hoof is not meant for hard floor


b. Paddocks in the farm are, either not available, or it is not of sufficient size, or it is shabbily managed-a place of garbage throwing, or it is of hard floor, or it is not having facility for drinking water & fodder for animals,


c. The animals are milked by common milkers, who visits several farms for milking, they are good source of communicating diseases to animals from one farm to the other,


d. Laborers staying in farm do not maintain their personal hygiene, so the farm and so the animals, causing harm to the animals,


e. At places animals and laborer use common water trough for drinking water, laborers, bathe, wash their clothes, vessels and do their daily cleaning at a common water tough,


f. Hardly in any farm the manger and water troughs would be found clean,


g. The waste water pit is very close to the farm, it rots and attracts flies for diseases,


h. For the convenience of the labors the compost pit is kept very close to the animal shed, it is kept uncovered, un-managed, it rots and attract several diseases,


i. Hardly any farm would install fly repellent, fly catcher, use mosquito repellents, etc.


j. There is free entry to the farm for visitors, visitors can reach up to the animals easily,


k. Seldom a farm uses “foot dip” before entry to the farm or insist for hand-wash, provide lab coat and cap for protection of animals (as the human transmit diseases to animals),


l. Mastitis animals and their milk is not separated,


m. Isolation of sick and quarantine of new arrivals are not followed,


n. Feeding un-chaffed fodder to animals could be seen in majority of farms, which damages the teeth of animals,


o. Para-vet is allowed a direct entry to the farm and access to the animals,


p. Sterilized equipment, AI gun, etc., are hardly used at the farms,


q. Animal’s udder is not cleaned before & after milking, teat dip is not used after milking,


r. Post parturient management is not up to the mark in most of the farms, majority of these problems like; repeat breeding and anestrus are due to low feeding and bad dry and post parturition period management,


s. Mostly animals are milked with hand not with machines, it damages the teats,


t. Cups of milking machines are not cleaned daily & properly fitted to teats, it is harmful,


u. Vacuum presser is not maintained as per the norms, which damages the teat,


v. The story of bad drains, over flowing sumps, un-cleaned dungs in farm, dirty manger, etc. and bleeding compost pits is very common at Dairy Animal Farms. If these are a common feature of the Dairy Farms, why to raise a query for diseases in the farm?


The list is unending. In view of above, should the blame go to the animals, dairy business, or the owner? Create a waste management plan.

(10) CALF, HEIFER AND DRY ANIMAL MANAGEMENT:


This is the most neglected lot of the farm. We forget that feeding calf or heifer in the early life is going to give a better cow with better genital, better milk production capability for their total life. We also do not care for dry animals and feed them very little and non-nutritious ration, while we all know that they are dry because they are carrying fetus in their womb. They need proper diet for their own body maintenance and also for the fetus. If you feed carefully to animals 3 months before their 1st parturition and during the 1st dry period, their milk production capacity increases tremendously for the entire life. You generally do not follow this as it involves cost. You generally do not see the larger benefit, rather look at the fact that they are not in milk. Why should we go for Dairy Animal Farm Business, once we can not feed and take care of the animals? I may be harsh in using the words like “if the animals are not fed and cared properly, it is not rearing, rather it is destroying good germ-plasm of the country”.

(11) DAIRY FARM BUSINESS SHOULD RESPECT THE “DEMAND AND SUPPLY”:


Why to keep animals, if can’t sell the products? Before doing any business the first job the entrepreneurs should do is to assess the availability of demand for the items they are going to produce. They should also study their competitors in the market. Also try to discover the commission structure and other sale promotion activities of the competitors.

Plus, the accessibility, reach-ability to the market and travel time should also be studied, so that the logistics arrangement and all costs are planned in advance. It is useful to do the SWOT analysis of competitors and own farm. Look for the nitch market, instead of being one additional to the already available product mix in the market.

(12) ACCOUNT & FINANCE:


Account is book keeping of incoming & outgoing of available funds, while finance deals with the source and use of the funds, about the cost of the funds and projections for future needs of the funds. Sound book keeping and arranging cheap funds make the project wealthier by the passage of time. Timely audit is one of the tools for handling accounts in the line of policies decided by the owners/ board of management and trustees.


MIS (Management Information System) is the base of project monitoring for taking corrective measures, if the project has to perform better. Data base management is always a tool to fix-up targets, assess future demands and requirement of funds plus make arrangement for exigencies. MIS provides all cost analysis on per liter basis to the management.


Book keeping for each animal record, assures better management of animals and also quoting a good price for better performing animals based on the individual animal records.

The writer of this article is freelance Dairy Business Consultant

Dr PK Shrivastava, MVSc, PGDHRM, PGDMM, ex- NDDB officer

M/s Dairy Consultancy, Bangalore, India

Reach us: +91 8073147467

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