Dairy farming has grown tremendously in the last couple of years. From being a hobby activity, dairy farming in Kenya has been transformed into a full-blown business venture. There are more than enough examples of people making a more than good living from dairy farming but almost all of them will agree with me when I say it requires you to give a lot for you to receive.
Good and affordable feeds
Many people practicing dairy farming today are not satisfied with the amount of milk the cow is giving them. Especially when there are successful dairy farmers getting 30-45 liters of milk per cow per day. The easiest solution to this would be to buy some of the successful farmers’ cows. This is solving the problem without actually solving the problem. Il explain, if your cow is producing less than 10 liters a day, then you are not feeding it right.
To solve the problem, a farmer should first learn to feed the cows as required before buying high producing cows. Many farmers end up with diminished milk production after spending a lot of money buying quality breeds but fail when it comes to feeding them. To ensure that you gain maximum profits from your dairy venture, make sure you drive the cost of feeds down. Reports have it that the main cost in dairy farming in Kenya is from animal feed which accounts to is between 40%-60% of the total costs.
There are several ways in which farmers can drive the costs down, for example, planting their own food if there is enough land available. Farmers can also make their own concentrates such as dairy meal. This will significantly reduce the cost of farming. There are new technologies that help reduce the cost of feeds for dairy farming in Kenya such as hydroponics fodder where fodder is planted without water and is ready in just 6 days.
Feeding is the most important factor when dealing with dairy cows. In most cases it distinguishes the successful farmers from the unsuccessful ones. With feeding, there is not anyone Golden formula that guarantees success. However, there are guidelines/rules of thumb that when followed will more often than not produce good results. It is however important for farmers to understand that they have to choose a formula that works both for the dairy cows and them. In that, the cows improve milk production and at the same time not strain the farmer. Some of the best animal feeds are expensive and this at times produces losses even with good milk production. Some farms have resorted to planting their own feeds and this has greatly driven down the costs.
Good technical support
Every farmer requires good technical support to be successful. Having a qualified veterinary doctor to visit your farm regularly can save you lot of costs amounting from medical expenses. It is also important that a farmer has a nutritionist visit the farm once in a while to advice on the feed to give the cows in the different lactation stages. Soil analysts are also important because if your soil lacks certain nutrients needed for cow development, then the crops grown on it will most likely also lack the same.