Feeding accounts for over 60% of the total cost of production in a profitable dairy cattle enterprise.
You must ensure adequate (quality and quantity) feeding for keeping your animals healthy and productive. Producing your own feeds (fresh, conserved and compounded) is a very good option and reduces the cost of feeding an animal.
So, determine the amount of pasture that will be required for the animal. Work with a nutritionist to develop balanced rations for your lactating cows, dry cows and heifers if these animals are to be raised on the farm.
Raising all your feed takes land and time, not to mention equipment for planting and harvesting the crops.
Hiring operators to plant and harvest crops, or making arrangements with neighbours to share equipment and labour can reduce your capital investment as you get started with your dairy business and are building capital.
Some of the major feed resources in the animal’s diet are:
- Mineral licks and/or mineral supplements.
- Dairy concentrates for optimum milk production.
- Make use of plenty of agricultural, farm (cereal stovers, sweet potato vines and straws) and agro-industrial by-products (molasses, maize bran, bagasse, and brewery spent grain).
- Dairy animals have high nutrition requirements compared to animals raised for meat. Improper nutrition can lead to lower milk production or lower-quality milk.
- Mouldy feed or feed stored in the same area as pesticides and other contaminants can transfer dangerous toxins to the milk.