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Dairy Farm Challenges

Understanding Modern Farm Challenges

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Fertility

(Heat Detection)

The Need – Heat Detection

The Challenge

Dairy profitability depends on herd fertility, which is based on optimized lactation intervals. In maintaining good fertility, the main factor is timing. The equation is simple: identifying the exact time for breeding = improved pregnancy rates.

Detecting when animals are in heat is critical. High-yielding cows maintain short estrus periods with few visual signs. As cows can be in heat any time around the clock, nighttime heat periods may go undetected. In larger herds, the challenge is even greater, since farmers may miss animals in heat altogether.

Health

(Maintaining healthy herds)

The Need – Maintaining healthy herds

The Challenge

Cow health is a key factor in dairy herd profitability. Cows must be in excellent health to provide high quality milk and superior reproductive performance – and high-production cows are particularly susceptible to disease. Mastitis, ketosis, calving problems, lameness and other disorders reduce production and demand costly veterinary treatment. Ultimately, animal illness leads to financial losses that can transform a profitable dairy farm to a losing enterprise. Thus, to remain profitable, dairy farms must ensure the prevention, early detection and treatment of sick cows.

Cow Welfare Icon

Cow Welfare

(Cow Well-being and Comfort)

The Need – Cow Well-being and Optimum Sitting Time

The Challenge

Dairy cows, especially high producing ones, are particularly susceptible to health problems. To maintain their well-being, high quality milk production and reproductive function, farmers must ensure the best environmental conditions.

Animals must be free of:

  • Hunger and thirst – easy access to fresh water and feed
  • Discomfort – appropriate shelter and comfortable, accessible resting area
  • Pain, injury or disease – treatment of health issues
  • Fear and distress – elimination of stressful situations; proper protection from predators
  • Cows must be able to express normal behavior – sufficient space, freedom of movement and herd hierarchy

Commercial dairy farms face a major challenge in monitoring and maintaining these conditions. As it is difficult for medium-to-large size farms to monitor their herds through observation, these factors are often neglected, resulting in financial loss for the farm.

Nutrition

(Feed Efficiency)

The Need – Feed Efficiency

The Challenge

Great challenges surround the future availability and price of cattle feed, the greatest expense on the dairy farm.

Worldwide growth of the dairy industry has increased the demand for corn and other cattle feed crofts. Severe drought in different parts of the world, along with other factors, limits the availability of cattle feed, increasing overall feed costs. The result is a decrease in the milk per feed cost ratio.

Milking

(Controlling the milking process)

The Need – Controlling the milking process

The Challenge

Animal health is directly correlated to the quality of milking and milking equipment.

Monitoring milking, controlling pulsation and cluster removal and ensuring uniform milking procedures are essential for precision milking.

Herd Planning

(Milk Production Forecast)

The Need – Milk Production Forecast

The Challenge

In every business, production planning is at the heart of economic control. In the dairy industry, unlike other businesses, increasing the means of production – the number of milked cows – is either a long-term task (growing replacements) or a meaningful investment (buying pregnant cows).

Labor Saving

(Automatic tools for reducing labor)

The Need – Automatic tools for reducing labor

The Challenge

On dairy farms, increasing herd size, industrialisation and mass production has led to a shortage in trained and professional personnel.

Managing a dairy farm involves daily tasks and procedures that demand great skill and precision. For example, identifying cows that need attention, approaching and treating these animals and reporting treatment events are  all labor-intensive tasks.

Recruiting and training new personnel has thus become a major challenge for dairy farms today.

Milk Quality

(Milk Safety and Quality)

The Need – Milk Safety and Quality

The Challenge

Every dairy operation must ensure that its milk is of high quality and safe for consumption. High quality milk is crucial for processing high quality dairy products.

Per regulations, milk displaying the following must be discarded:

  • Contamination by antibiotic residue and added water
  • Blood
  • High temperature
  • High DMC (Direct Microscopic Count) of bacteria
  • Inadequate sensory  factors (smell, taste, visual)

Likewise, milk quality affects the product’s taste and shelf life, as well as the cost of manufacturing derivatives.

Parameters of milk quality:

  • Somatic cell count
  • Milk solids (fat, protein, lactose)
  • Mastitis pathogens (e-coli, staphylococcus)

FAQ

Milking Data and Variations

Mastitis Detection

Health status of cows

Calving disease

Negative Energy Balance

Milking efficiency and Labor

Yes it is very much possible and does not require too much investment.

If you pasteurize and pouch the milk you will be able to add value to your final product.

You can make

Pasteurized Milk

Curd

Butter

Ghee

Khoa

Paneer

You need

Pasteurizer

Pouch or Bottle Filling Machine

Butter Churn

Ghee Vat

Boiler

Refrigeration

Cold store

Depending upon the products and automation investment can vary from 25-50 lakhs.

It is advisable to get in touch with those who have experience in this sector.

You should have a master plan for farm set up that shall take in consideration all aspects like housing of cows, sheds, calf and heifer shed, milking, feeding, manure management and good layout.

Construction once done is difficult to change and can be a bottle neck in your future expansion.

You should have a good farm team and a good marketing plan for your products.

Last but not the least you need to have patience and persistence in what you do.

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