Diary farming is a unique business in that you can actually make income from multiple aspects of it. It generally involves the rearing of cattle for the sole production of dairy products, most especially milk, but can also include butter. Diary farming in Nigeria is a very profitable business because it is not so popular at the moment.
While being a very profitable business, it requires so much investment of time, money and lots of other resources. Fortunately, the government has several programs through which a diary farmer can request for and obtain loans for this agricultural business. So venturing into the diary farming business is not something you just wake up from sleep and go into, you first must be clear on your goals and detail your reasons for venturing into it.
Before venturing into anything, of course one has to first acquire requisite knowledge in what he is venturing into, diary farming is not left out. In fact, without the needed knowledge, one cannot run a business of diary farming in Nigeria. Interact with other diary farmers, learn as much as possible from them and ask lots of questions. We bring you the step by step guide of diary farming in Nigeria.
Designing a business plan for your diary business is your first step to starting it. This is where you make all the financial plans involved in making your business successful. Estimate how much it would cost to acquire all you would need for the business, such as land, tools, equipment, supplies, labour, etc.
This is the step you should make friends with other farmers, so they guide you in making correct estimations. Also, you should make those trips to the supply stores and get information on how much you expect to spend for setting up all you’ll need.
Other items to include in your business plan are cost of visiting the vet, vaccination and disease control. Since the business is just beginning, it would be smart to include the cost of running the diary farm until the farm begins bringing in enough profits to sustain itself. This will let you know how to stay prepared and not operate at a loss.
Other things to note in this step are how many cows can be accommodated based on the available space and facilities, who will handle the duties necessary for the smooth running of the farm and who will be in charge?
Operating a dairy farm involves lots of labour. You have to decide in this step where the labour for your dairy farm will come from. Will you be handling things yourself or will you be hiring family and friends or strangers? Whichever way it goes, bear in mind those working on the dairy farm must be adequately trained for whatever duties will be required of them.
After mapping out your physical plans, you can then set up all the equipments and facilities needed in the diary farm. It’s best these are fixed even before the animals are introduced to the farm.
This is where you purchase and breed your cows. Ensure you already have a comfortable environment for them to stay in with protective fencing. Purchase your founding breed from quality breeds like Ayrshires, Boran, Brahman, Bunaji, Friesians, Guernsey, Jerseys, Sahiwals, Tregian and White Fulani. Each has peculiar characteristics which you should find out more if you want to have healthy cows for your diary farming. You’ll also need the information when cross breeding.
Usually, you should feed your cows about twice a day with green forage from leguminous plants, potato vines, wheat straw, rice straw and maize stover. To aid easy feeding for your cows, you can chop the feeds and store the rest up for rainy days.
Hygiene in a diary farm is very important as it determines the quality of the dairy products from your farm, while also preventing your cows from getting sick. You should thus take it very serious. All processes should be done with high neatness standards. To make cleaning easier, you could cement every ground space apart from the grazing area, and have sufficient source of water close by.
This is the packaging step, where you package your diary products for onward transportation to the market for sale. Branding and attractive packaging is crucial to successful sales. There are several ways you can package your product. Either in buckets or bottles, what matters is that the packaging is attractive and can be easily handled for movement from one location to another. You don’t want a packaging where the handle suddenly breaks while being carried from the delivery truck to the customer’s front door.
It shouldn’t end here, you should stay relevant in the dairy farming scene by attending events and seminar relates to your business. Network with other dairy farmers. Always be on the lookout for new ways of doing things. And make investment on high tech dairy farming equipments.