Sustainable and profitable farming ventures. In dairy farming, these same concepts must apply in order to achieve profitability. Whichever way you look at it, farming resembles manufacturing industry greatly and the one single determinant of a profitable venture is margins (This is the difference between the cost of production and selling price).
In order to increase these margins in dairy farming, you have to ensure that you reduce your costs as much as possible especially since you as the farmer do not have any power/influence over the buying price from the milk processor. To do this, you must ensure that your feeding costs (Which amount for over 70% of dairy farming costs) are kept in check.
Dairy cows consume 2 types of feeds a day to enable proper milk production:
1. Forages which amount for the bulk of the feed. This is the most important part of the animal feed and constitutes feeds such as maize silage, Napier grass and Rhodes grass.
2. Concentrates such as commercial dairy meal, desmodium, Lucerne etc. These are used to supplement the nutrients missed in the forages.
Despite popular belief, forages are very important for the dairy cow. In fact, from goo quality forages alone, farmers can milk as much as 20litres per cow. Concentrates should be merely used to supplement.
One of the factors making dairy farming expensive is the ever rising cost of commercial dairy meal. As a strategy to beat this, farmers should concentrate on feeding good quality forages that can provide most of the needed body nutrients by the cow and reduce the amount of dairy meal fed.
My advice, farmers should plant good quality forages such as maize silage and Rhodes grass and cut them at the right size to ensure that they get the plant when the nutritional value is at its highest and achieve profitable dairy farming.
Forage crops such as maize silage are less nutritional when they are fully mature as most of the nutrients in the plant have gone into developing the plant stem and other parts. The crop should have a higher leafy coverage other than stem. This also applies to boma Rhodes and other grasses. The nutrient are in the leafy parts and young stems not the dry hard mature parts.
As I had mentioned earlier, good quality forages can drastically reduce the need for expensive dairy meal and hence enabling profitable dairy farming.
This is the same reason traditionally, milk production rises during the rainy season as the pasture/grasses fed on by the cows have a lot of leafy material at this time as they are still young and growing.
Farmers unable to plant their own maize silage can now purchase ready-made maize silage from Farming Afrika. All you will need is to arrange for transportation as the farm is in Eldoret region.
We are currently taking orders for September silage harvest. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0734728059 if interested.