Making Money with Dairy Farming
About Dairy Farming:
Dairy farming is a class of an animal husbandry or agricultural enterprise for long-term production of milk from cows and also from goats, camels and sheep. It is either processed on-site or transported to a factory in order to do processing and for eventual retail sale. Hence dairy farms are farms where cows are raised to make milk and also the milk products like whipping cream, butter, ice cream and cheese.
Most of the dairy farms instead of rising non-milk producing stock from the bull calf, they sell their male calves born by their cows usually for the veal production or for the breeding depending on the quality of the bull calf. Many of the dairy farms grew their own feed which includes hay and corn, which is fed directly to the cows and or stored as silage in order to use it during the winter season.
It is an important source of subsidiary income for marginal and small farmers and also the agricultural laborers. The manure which comes from the animals provides a very good source of organic matter in order to improve the soil fertility and the crop yields. The gober gas which comes from the dung is also used as a fuel for some domestic purposes and also for running engines to draw water from well.
History Of Dairy Farming:
Dairy farming is being a part of agriculture for thousands of years. It has been a part of diverse and small farms. Large scale of dairy farming viable only where either there is a substantial market of people with cash for buying milk and not the cows of their own or there is a large amount of milk is required for production of various durable dairy products such as butter cheese etc.
- Hand Milking:
Centralized dairy farming is primarily developed around cities and villages, where most of the residents are unable to have their own cows due to the lack of grazing land. Thus the farmers used to make some extra money by the side by having some additional animals and selling some milk in the town. They used to fill the barrels with milk in the morning. Until the late 19th century, the milking was done by hands. But as the need for the milk moves up an individual milkier was not able to milk more than a dozen of cows a day. Hence the smaller operations predominated.
- Vacuum Bucket Milking:
The first milking machine is an extension for traditional milking pail. The milkier device fit on the top of a milk pail and sat on the floor under the cow. After each cow has being milked, the buckets are dumped into a holding tank. Before milking a cow, a huge leather strap which is called a surcingle was put around the cow and across the cow’s lower back. This innovation allowed the cow to move around naturally with the milking process rather than to stand still over a bucket on the floor.
- Milking pipeline:
The next innovation introduced in automatic milking is the milk pipeline. This type uses a vacuum pipe and a permanent milk-return pipe which encircles the milking parlor or barn above the rows of the cows, with the quick seal entry ports on each cow. In order to eliminate the need of the milk container, this milking device shrunk in weight and size to the point where it can hang under the cow, held up only with the sucking force of the nipples of the milkier on the cow’s udder. This pipeline system heavily reduces the physical labor of milking. This pipeline allow barn length to keep on expanding and increasing, but after some point farmers started to milk in large groups, where filling the barn in one-half to one-third of the herd, then refilling and emptying the barn and milking the animals. As the herd sizes increased, this evolved into a more efficient milking parlor.
· Milking Parlors:
Innovation in milking is emerged and focused on mechanizing the milking parlor which is commonly known as milking shed in Australia and New Zealand in order to maximize the number of cows per operator which streamlined the process of milking to permit cows to be milked as if on the assembly line and also to reduce the physical stresses on the farmer by putting the cows on the platform a slightly above the person milking the cows so that it eliminates the need of having to constantly bend over. Many of the older and smaller farms still have stanchion barns or tie-stall, but worldwide a majority of commercial farms have parlors.
- Herringbone & Parallel Parlors:
In Parallel and herringbone parlors, the milkier generally used to milk one row at a time. Here the milkier will move a row of cows from the holding yard into the milking parlor, and then milk each cow in that row. Once most of or all the milking machines have been removed from the milked row, the milkier will release the cow to their feed. Then a new group of cows are loaded into the vacant parlor and this process repeats till all the cows are milked. Depending on the milking parlor size, which is normally in the bottleneck, these rows can range from four to sixty at a time.
- Rotary Parlors:
Under this type, the cows are loaded one at a time in the platform as it slowly rotates. The milkier will stand near the entry to the parlor and then puts the cups on the cows as they move past. By the time the platform has completed a full rotation, another machine or milkier removes the cups and then the cow steps backwards off the platform and then it walks to its feed. These rotary parlors are commonly known as the Rotary cowsheds in New Zealand, which is started in the 1980’s and it is quite expensive compared to herringbone cowshed and is about 25% faster than a herringbone shed for the same number of cows.
- Automatic Milkier Take-off:
This sort of milking can be harmful to an animal for it to be over-milked past the point and where the udder has been stopped releasing milk. Subsequently the milking process for this involves not just applying the milkier and it also monitors the process to determine when the animal has been milked out and the milkier should be removed. This parlor operations allows a farmer to milk more animals and also more quickly and it also increased the number of animals to be monitored simultaneously by the farmer. This automatic take-off was also developed to remove the milkier from the cow when the milk flow reaches a present level, which relieves the farmer from the duties of carefully watching over more animals being milked at the same time.
- Fully Automated Milking:
During 1980s and 1990s, these robotic milking systems were developed and introduced. Thousands of these systems are in routine operation. In these types of systems the cow has a high degree of autonomy to choose her time of milking with-in the pre-defined windows.
Importance and Scope for dairy farming:
The total of milk production in our country was estimated about 84.6 million metric tones for the year 2001-02. At this production, the per capita availability was 225grams per day against the minimum requirement of 250grams per day as recommended by ICMR. Thus, it shows that there is tremendous potential and scope for increasing the milk production. The state and central governments are giving considerable financial assistance in creating infrastructure facilities for milk production. 9th plan outlay on Animal Husbandry and Dairying was about Rs.2345 cores.
Advantages of Dairy Farming:
Dairy farming is more relevant in most parts of the world. In these lands, animals especially cows are raised so that their milk can be sold. In other words, we can say if you have no dairy farms then milk, which is the main source for minerals and calcium for humans would be difficult to get. These days, dairy industry is one of the most promising industries all over the world. Where no other business can guarantee such returns as does the dairy farming. Usually tested cows which are tried to produce large amount of milk are raised in these lands. Examples are: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Milking shorthorn. If these businesses are done with a proper scientific management then you can earn 25-32% returns of the investment.
Major benefits of dairy farming include:
· Since this dairy farming business is not dependent on the rainfall, production is possible even if the weather is very dry and hot.
· The rate of the milk which is sold in the market has never gone down. Even when the supply increases the demand it has been noticed that the price has remained the same.
· The demand curve for the milk is always increasing which means the demand keeps on increasing and the consumption of dairy products is on the top by both non-vegetarians and vegetarians.
· Compared to the products of the other industries, marketing of milk is so easy. There is no need for special shops and the expenses for marketing are also very low for any of the dairy products.
· Dairy farming industry is the only one where you have a guaranteed income for every month.
Disadvantages of dairy farming:
When we just look into our history of our dairy farming, we know that centralized type of farming existed in most of the cities and villages. Most of the residents had enough land to keep cows and sell milk to their neighbors. However, in this modern world, only very few people have cows due to the lack of space for the cows to graze on. Even though people have enough money in order to buy milk, they don’t have place or time to rear cows. Only based on the location, people today prefer to tame cows and have a farm for their own. Say for examples: in New Hampshire about 70% of the farm land is completely associated with dairy farming. Hardly there are only 126 dairy farms left in the state today. New England has lost about 150 farms in the past 2 years and has only 2000 farms in the state. This is due to the reason that the farmers are being paid less for milk they produce. It is rightly said that during the recession the hardest hit is the daily farms.
Like any other mammals, cows give birth to young ones and produce milk to nurture them. Normally a gestation period for a cow is about 9 months and it would nurse then from 7 months to one year. Like any other mammals it feeds the baby 9 to 12 times a day. The dairy farm does not allow this to happen as they want to extract most of the milk and to be sent to the market. By this process the dairy farms separate the young ones from their mothers which cause a great distress. While the male calves are often killed and sent to slaughter houses for beef or veal. The female calves become dairy cows like their mothers. The frequent replacement of herd members is very essential because the death rate of dairy cows is high. The average number of years which a cow lives is 20years. But in a dairy, a cow usually lives only for 3 to 4 years due to the frequent disease and constant location.
The last few decades are the wonderful period for the dairy farming and this experienced a sudden growth in the southern US. The climatic conditions in this US area are very different from that of places like New England which is fully filled with grasslands. The dairy cattle here are housed in unpaved dry lots or dirt lots. This undeveloped surface of such lots causes frequent lameness and it is hard on the cows. And also the heavy rains create layers of mud and manures several inches thick. This makes even more impossible or difficult for the cows to lie down or to walk on a dry surface.
Thus a dairy farmers work hard each and every day to bring you great tasting, fresh, wholesome milk products. Almost all the dairies are family-owned and they are as active members of their communities, farms families take pride in maintaining natural resources and feeding our country. It means they preserve the land where they work and live, protect the water and air and they share with the neighbors, as they provide the best care for their cows- the lifeblood for their business.