The dairy business is an interesting business for modern entrepreneurial people. Nothing is surprising in the fact that dairy products are in constant demand. They are used in all sorts of foods including cheese, ice cream, butter and more. If done properly, owning a milk cow can be a profitable endeavor.
All you need is to choose and buy a healthy breed animal that will allow you to get the maximum amount of milk yield. After buying a milk cow, it is essential to properly care for the cow, provide it with balanced nutrition, and use the necessary milking equipment.
What are the pros and cons of keeping a milk cow?
Farm business has its own advantages and disadvantages. The dairy business is no exception. Let’s start by looking at the benefits of this activity.
Pros of keeping a milk cow
You can sell both milk and milk products: buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, and so on. Remember that each individual cow is different in breed, age and milk yield.
Milk cows are in demand at all times, among almost all peoples and nationalities. The fact is that after purchasing a cow, it is possible to get an almost endless source of milk, which you can use for yourself or for sale.
Cons of keeping a milk cow
The disadvantage and difficulty of keeping a milk cow are that you will need to devote a lot of time to cleaning, feeding, milking, etc. You will also need to have shelter (a barn or stable) for the cow and buy the necessary dairy equipment.
However, the time and effort spent is usually worth the result you get.
How to organize a pasture for a milk cow?
Merely eating green grass is not enough for the complete nutrition of a dairy cow. Without proper nutrition, it will not be able to unleash its full milk production potential. You’ll have to organize a grazing area in a special way. To do this, in the spring, it is a good idea to plant the site with certain herbs and grasses that will help add extra nutrition to the cow’s diet.
If the cow does not have enough grass for one reason or another, you can fill the gap in nutrition with hay (dried grass), silage, or compound feed, which you can buy at the veterinary store or local feed store. Many breeders prefer the last option since such food considers the animal’s need for every trace vitamin and mineral.
In addition to taking care of the vegetation in the pasture, you need to take some measures to create the right pasture area:
- Build a pen or fencing to prevent escape.
- There should be constant access to fresh drinking water. This can be accomplished with an automatic waterer or with access to a stream or creek.
- In addition, the owner of the animal should be able to properly ensure that the dairy cow is prepared for pasture conditions.
- Prepare the hooves of the animal, for which they usually use the services of a livestock technician, who trims the hooves of a cow in a special way.
- If the animal has an aggressive character, you need to shorten or remove its horns to avoid injury.
- A dairy cow should be vaccinated and treated against parasites on a regular basis.
Moving from stable to summer pasture
The cow very quickly gets used to the schedule of life, and any change, especially abrupt, can cause stress, which leads to a deterioration in milk production. The same applies to the transition from stables to grazing. You shouldn’t do this abruptly.
It is worth waiting for a while and taking the cow out for a short time during the first warmer days. During this period, plants that grow in the pasture begin to get added to the usual diet of dairy cows to get accustomed their to the new food.
For the transition to self-feeding to go as smoothly as possible, you need to introduce food containing fiber into the cow’s menu gradually. If you neglect these recommendations, there is a risk of undermining the health of the animal’s digestive tract – diarrhea, constipation, and even vomiting may occur.
Naturally, a sick animal will not be able to give the amount of milk that you are expecting. In addition, the quality of milk will suffer: its fat content and taste values will decrease. Adaptation to the outdoors can be delayed if there is no fresh feed in the diet during the winter period.
What milking equipment do you need for a dairy farm?
Milking equipment is an essential piece of any dairy farm. The three primary categories are general-purpose milking equipment, milk cooling, processing and storage equipment, and health and nutrition supplies.
In large scale dairies, automatic milkers and teat spray robots are two of the most prevalent pieces of dairy supplies used to boost dairy production efficiency. There are closed-loop systems, milk vats, plate coolers, and tanks for milk cooling and storage. For a homestead with only one or two cows, these elaborate set-ups are generally not necessary or cost-effective.
It’s not just about the milking when it comes to the equipment used by dairy producers. Harvesting, storing, and transporting dairy fodder, as well as producing electricity for the dairy farming process, require the use of additional farm equipment. Some items that you may also need to have on the farm include:
- Fodder trucks
- Fodder compacting presses
- Fodder block machines
- Mud pumps
- Feed baskets
- Loader tractors
- Fodder mills
- Feed grinders
- Fodder chaff cutters
- Milk cans
- Motorized bore wells
- Tagging equipment
Keeping a milk cow is a very demanding process. Therefore, you should make sure you are ready for the commitment. If you decide to buy a family cow, use every effort to provide the cow with good food, a comfortable place to sleep, and the grooming and care that it needs.