Tuesday, June 18, 2024

I earn over three times my teaching salary since quitting job for dairy farming

It’s been two years since Mr. Paul left his teaching profession and fully embraced dairy farming on his 50 X 100 plot. He says that transitioning to agribusiness from his salaried job was the best decision he has ever made.

“I’m in dairy farming. It’s incomparable to the teaching job I had done for more than 4 years…since I stopped teaching, I have done some things that I couldn’t do with the little pay I was getting from the teaching career,” he said in an interview.

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With the little savings he had from his teaching profession, Mr Paul began his farm with a single Ayrshire breed whose potential was 10 litres of milk after calving. He admits that initially, the elephant in the room was getting a good breed of cow with limited finances.

However, Mr Paul was passionate about dairy farming. He later sold his Ayrshire breed for a Friesian, which was a better milk producer, at 18 litres after calving.

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He explained that despite the latter being heavy feeders, with the right training and mentorship from various farmers, he has been able to generate profits. Patiently, he has been able to grow the livestock numbers on his farm.

“When you begin something and find that there’s an improvement, you get enough courage to move on with whatever you’ve been doing,” he said.

He says that when keeping Friesians, one of the most important factors to consider is their hygiene. At first, his cow was affected by mastitis which is very expensive to treat. He later came to realize that his shed was wrongly built.

He approached a SACCO to lend him some money and with approximately Sh. 80,000 he constructed an improvised cow shed. Mr Paul attributed this to the hands-on skills, as a fundi and mason, that he gained after completing his education.

To cut on his feeding costs, Mr Paul has learnt the art of formulating his own feeds. When he was first told about farmers who make their own feeds, he observed that most had their own machines.

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For his dairy meal, he mixes maize germ, wheat bran, and pollard in different ratios. He also includes supplements such as cottonseed cake, canola, sunflower, fish meal, and more in small quantities.

“For dairy, it’s quite different compared to a white collar job where you’ve to wait for a salary for 30 days. If you have a challenge of Sh. 1,000, you just carry 20 liters with you and go to the market and you’ll get the money you need,” he said.

In addition to selling milk, Mr. Paul earns income through the sale of manure and calves. He emphasized the importance of a good breed to ensure that one can obtain high-profit calves. On average, a healthy cow is expected to breed once a year.

The former teacher feeds his animals twice a day, in intervals of 12 hours. He says that it is important to give animals time to ruminate as this is when they are manufacturing milk, contrary to when they are feeding.

He feeds the animals differently, based on their dairy production using a self-curated formula. His highest-producing cow gives him 33 litres of milk, followed by another with 25 litres. The lowest producer gives 20 litres.

Mr. Paul advised farmers to embrace record keeping, especially health records. These help a farmer get guided especially when they are going astray.

“With good record keeping, you’ll know when a cow is taking you at a loss, and know how to treat it. You’ll know when your animal is at peak and actually, you’ll now be in business.”

“I will advise mostly the young generation who are rushing to white-collar jobs to get into dairy farming which is very joyous, very profitable and does not require more than 3 hours of your attention in a day,” he concluded.

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