Commercial dairy farming is a profitable business to start but not a popular one in Nigeria because most people do not venture into it due to lack of capital and other challenges involved but it is promising to say that this kind of farming practice have investors who are ready to help as the profits are very high when planned and managed well.
In so many parts of the world, dairy farming has been long practised which does not only provide them with milk but can as well convert it to butter, cheese and other dairy products which are sought after in the market.
To engage in this kind of agricultural practice, there are necessary things you have to know as well as consider to make it lucrative to the core;
• Developing a business plan, in this case, is very important, it will help you to manage the business well without been stuck on the way and will provide you with answers to your questions. The business plan should contain information as for how you can source for the capital, how to get knowledge about the business, their feed and other needs, how to sell and market them, the climate conditions good for them and how to prevent diseases in the case of occurrence and lots more.
• Experience is essential in every business, so if you don’t have a basic knowledge of dairy farming and cows, it is better you find how to gain one so that you can be able to learn techniques involve in cow management, breeding and weaning, feeding and milking as well as others things which will help you in such business.
• This is not a business which you can go for on a small scale because it wouldn’t yield much profit unless you want to engage in subsistence agriculture. But if want to go commercial, you need enough capital to see you through, don’t be dismay if you don’t have the money because there are banks and investors who are willing to help so you can as well get a financial loan from them.
In most cases, it is advised to start small with the capital you have at hand first and as the business progresses and earns profits then you can go for a bank loan to expand it, this will help you manage the funds well as you would have had a better experience and have overcome your fears and other challenges.
• Dairy farming involves goat and cow but in Nigeria, cow milk is preferred as there are not enough publication on goat milk, therefore choose the best breed of the cow for milking. You can ask others into the farming system or get to the right diary department in Nigeria that oversees the activities of dairy products they will be willing to assist you on that.
• In selecting a cow, it is better to choose more of females than males because they are the ones to produce the milk which means “more females, more milk production”. The males will help in mating and can also be sold or slaughtered as meat which can add to your profit.
• Consider their feeds as well. Cows are herbivores animal and so they eat grass, make sure that the land is a grassland, but you should not limit their food to grasses only as there are other essential nutrients they need in order to grow healthy. Therefore, it is vital that you buy their other food supplements from local farmers or even better you can learn how to grow them yourself such as grains and other forage like hay.
• Also consider the feeding methods and equipment, including other equipment and machines that you might need in the course of running this farming operation which includes hay baler, storage buildings, milking equipment and more.
• Milking cows needed to be milked two or more times in a day which should be done in a clean environment and equipment to avoid contamination but firstly you have to understand the breeding cycles of such animals and also how to increase the milk production and keep them lactating as possible.
• Make sure that the farm for this business is properly secured, and provide the animals with a nice and comfortable cow house or shelter against poor weather conditions which are unfavourable for them. Also, learn how to manage and control the spread of diseases and the adequate medication to give.
Dairy farming is stressful, challenging and capital intensive, but is very profitable. There are many farmers who have made and are still making profits in this kind of business both in Nigeria and other parts of the world; this is so because they followed the right steps just as the tips above will help you to be successful in your dairy operation.