Dairy farming is on the rise in India, and it’s one of the most lucrative industries you can get into. Across the nation, India ranks number one in milk production. Unfortunately, there are many problems facing dairy farmers today that are making them lose money. The absence of a well-researched plan renders the business of dairy farming unprofitable. However, with good planning and some extra education, you’ll learn how to earn profits through your dairy business.
The first step: industry & customer analysis
The Indian dairy industry is growing at a fast pace. As per the Economic Survey of 2019-20, milk production in the country is growing at the rate of 35.61% annually. Not just the production is increasing, the demand side also looks promising. As per a study by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the demand for milk and milk products in India for the year 2030 is estimated to be 266.5 million metric tonnes.
It is also important to decide on what type of customer you want to target. A dairy farmer can either sell its milk to household consumers or to private players and dairy cooperatives like Amul, Verka, and Mother Dairy, etc. There are different dairy cooperatives active in different states that procure milk from a large number of dairy farmers operating in rural and urban areas.
Once you have decided whom to sell your milk to, the next step is to list the components required to establish a dairy farm.
The 5 key elements in the dairy business and how to use them profitably
When calculating the land requirement for a dairy farm, farmers need to consider several factors. Keeping a right-sized farm plays a significant role in ensuring profitability. The most important factor is the number of cattle per hectare of land. Fertile land should be kept spare for taking up fodder cultivation. On average around 2-3 acres of fertile land is required to grow green fodder for 15 animals. For a unit of 20 animals, the ideal total land size for shed and other dairy structures is approximately 3,000sq. Ft.
2. Shed Construction
An important factor to keep in mind while the shed construction is the height of the site in comparison to surrounding land. It is important to construct the cattle shed on elevated land to provide a good slope for rainwater and waste drainage. Less site development is required on a leveled land and thus less cost of construction. Ideally, each animal should have a space of 8 feet * 12 feet in the shed.
3. Selection of animal breed
Selecting the right breed of cattle can give your dairy business momentum. There are various native as well as crossbred animals available out there that give high yields. But it is always better to start with a smaller number and a reasonable yield rate. Many times farmers are tempted to buy the high-yielding cattle without understanding that they also demand more care, nutrition, and maintenance. Farmers may suffer losses in the future by purchasing high-yielding animals at the start and not being able to provide for that extra nutrition and the right environment.
The indigenous breed of calf
4. Vaccination of cattle
For disease prevention, it is necessary to maintain a strict vaccination chart of the cattle. Routine check-ups and timely vaccination is the key to ensuring that your cattle are in good health and maintaining milk productivity.
5. Water supply
Ensuring proper water supply is of utmost importance in maintaining a dairy farm. Total water requirement at the dairy farm in a day depends on a lot of factors like climate, breed of cattle, intake of dry material in diet, and others. Water is needed not only for the consumption of animals but for other activities also like cleaning barns, mixing in feed, preparing disinfectants, treating milk, fodder cultivation, and cleaning animals, and utensils. Around 110 liters of water per cow and 130-150 liters of water per buffalo are needed in a single day. The supply of water can be done by installing overhead tanks and/or tubewells.
The milk productivity of cows is directly dependent upon the type and nutritional value of the fodder available. There are three types of fodder under fodder management plan:
- Green: protein-rich leguminous crops like masoor, gram, maize, and nipper grass.
- Dry: wheat bran, wheat/rice straw, hay.
- Concentrate and mineral mixture: animal feed supplement containing minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, cobalt, and iodine, etc.
Some tips that can help you in getting a better start:
- Visit local dairy farmers and talk to them (discover other dairy farmers in your city) to gain better insights on the practical aspects of the dairy business, what kind of issues are faced by them, and how to solve them.
- Visit local Krishi Vigyan Kendra or the veterinary department to check the possibility of forming a bank linkage or project report with their help.
- Research about possible options for raising capital through bank loans or government schemes or essentially you can just check this.
- Check your decided farm site properly to ensure there is the availability of support systems like veterinary services, input suppliers, marketing channels, etc.
The above points will guide you through the process of running a profitable dairy farm in India. Keep in mind that your business plan will likely change as you progress and learn from your mistakes. We hope that the above information has been helpful in your research about the dairy farming business.