These tips will be helpful if you haven’t much idea of dairy farming.
1. Treat cow farming as an industry. Make adequate ground work before starting.
2. Collect data available anywhere and everywhere especially from the net. Be careful — not everything in net is authentic.
Part collected data aspect wise. Breed. Land-size contour, fertility, ground water, soil quality, potable water quality. Road link, irrigation source, barriers if any. Predators and animal menace. Feed and feeding habit of cows their digestion and metabolism which lead to milk production.
Write down all types of infrastructure you have and what are needed. At what ease you can find alternatives.
Find out what the systems in farming are and what type is most suited to you. Is it extensive or intensive or mixed? Find out without being biased.
Search net and books to learn what the management process in each are and bring out the merits and demerits. Again think which type is close to your area and tradition. A little twist in traditional methods, is often better than introducing a total new concept.
What are the farm outputs, are these readily saleable. If not how can these be sold or used. Pen down all you’ve got and your Farm concept is ready.
3. Basing on Farm concept add details and frame an outline of your Dairy Farm Project.
4. Map your resources. Make a SWOT analysis. If Opportunities far outweigh Weakness, GO AHEAD. But be sure that Threats can be contained or at least can be converted into weakness. Some threats are bound to occur.
5. Design titbits of your farm project. Grass land. Fodder patch. Cow stay yard and internal roads. Well, store site milk outlet treatment shed, sick pen etc. Keep all within a fence, so that no wild or stray livestock enters in or your cattle do not trespass into outside areas. Plan a green fence inside the outer fence and also at all subdivision boundaries. Ensure fodder supply as green or dried through the year for all animals. You may go for hydroponics but be aware of cost of production and ease of production.
Plan no concentrate feeding unless it is a contingency. So where do you stand?
KEEP THAT MANY OF ANIMALS AS YOUR FODDER PERMITS.
6. While going into details of housings try to use a structure for multiple uses. Say the ground area of a two storied hay store can be used as cattle rest shed. The biogas roof top as a calf pen and so on…. Innovate and curb capital cost and recurring too.
7. Draw an environment profile. Estimate both Micro- Inside of the cow shelter and consider the Macro environment too – outside the shelter, outside the yard and still outer of the area. Both temperature and relative humidity counts.
8. Do a little home work on finding out what type of people your farm needs- skilled and less skilled, supervisors, and managers? Stipulate to what extent work responsibility and decisions they shoulder. Don’t forget roles for yourself and of partners if any. Make provisions of relievers and proxies. Try to curb manpower by using automation and multi skilled. Calculate manpower cost and of all materials, hire charges etc.
9. Now you can be able draw a budget. Compute the break ups. Find the fund flow for the 1st and subsequent 2 or 3 years with IRR. What do you get? IRR more than 25% (please edit) in first year go for the farm. Expected at least 33 in subsequent years.
10. If you don’t find enough profit generation from your plan; try steps to lower cost of input and provide for conversion of milk, dung urine into saleable products. Be aware of MMPO, fsssai and SPCA and pollution laws.Cost of production must not be more than 50 percent of total sale.
11. If you want a finance then search through all options available. Banks are the major financier. You can also generate funds through cooperatives, SHGs (if farm is in one village) and from partners. Terms and conditions more or less differ with banks too. Bank finance is not easy for new comers, especially when the project envisages milk production. Read carefully the bank agreement before signing. Don’t agree to sign blank papers. Ask for a copy. Don’t be allured by a subsidy because it is only once.
12. Try alternatives to a bank loan. Ask a bank, if it is absolutely necessary to bring in a loan. Loan accrues interest. Grants from somebody or an organization, are really not free. They will expect some sort of obligation.
13. Keep in mind: loan or grant money is spent to purchase materials or labor or professional advices, or for some promises. If you can mobilize these any way, you are doing almost with zero budget. Try hundred times to avoid a bank loan. Pool resources that can come for your project. It is better to join hands than to be a debtor to a bank.
Dr Ranjit Dash. B.V.sc & A.H date 10.10.17