No matter how much experience you may have working on a dairy farm, you probably don’t know everything, especially when it comes to starting your own business in the field. Milk and other dairy products will always be in high demand and starting your own farm is no easy task. Here are a few things to think about before diving in.
You need a business plan
The first thing you need to remember about starting your own farm is that it’s a business. Like any business, you need a good plan laid out to make sure you succeed. It’s important to think about things such as how many cows you will milk, or if you’re going to hire additional employees. Your business plan should include the cash flow and should also set expectations for expenses and production costs. You may also want to develop a SWOT analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). These will allow you to identify any and all of the factors that may be involved in starting your farm.
Talk to the experts
Another thing to consider is asking for advice from other dairy farmers. Like with any business, it’s important to talk to other successful dairy farmers to get an idea of what has worked for them and what hasn’t, as well as considering whether or not those things will work for you. Outside of other dairy farmers, it can be a good idea to talk to nutritionists, bankers, veterinarians, and others that should be able to provide different perspectives on how to manage your farm.
Create a Cropping/Feeding Program and Waste Management Plan
Dairy cattle require a set amount of nutrients in order to support themselves as well as produce milk and grow a calf. You should think about working with a nutritionist to develop rations for the different types of cows you’ll have on your farm. Another huge thing to consider is the fact that dairy farms produce a lot of manure, otherwise known as waste. The great thing is that if you manage and use the waste properly, it won’t really be a “waste” and you can use it as a great resource on your farm! If you can implement a double cropping system you’ll be able to produce more feed while also being able to apply more manure to your land.
Starting your own dairy farm is no simple task. The tips I’ve outlined here are just a few ideas to get you started, but there is still so much more to learn and do before you dive in. Make sure to do the research, and ask questions when you have them and you’ll be milking cows in no time.