Proper structures contribute to the performance of a dairy farm as well as the comfort of the animals and the attendants.
The facilities should protect animals from high and low temperatures, strong sunlight, heavy rainfall, high humidity, strong winds, predators as well as ecto and endo paraasites, among others.
Animals protected from extreme weather conditions have a higher reproductive and production potential compared to those exposed to extremes.
A well-designed farm structure should be able to:
Reduce the cost of the materials or utilise locally available materials
Provide safety and comfort to the animals
Provide a safe and pleasant environment to the attendant
Lead to higher productivity and profitability
Layout and design of dairy farms
The site where the unit is built determines the efficiency of operations throughout the dairy cattle enterprise.
It should be as near as possible to the source of forage to reduce labour costs of carrying the cut grass to the cows as well as manure back to the farm.
Intensive dairy systems require an increased level of labour input due to the need to cut grass daily.
Proximity to the homestead in relation to the biogas plant is also an important consideration. The following should be considered when selecting a site for construction of a dairy unit:
Easy access to the farm
Vehicles delivering feeds or collecting milk must be able to turn around the dairy facility.
Make the most of natural light and shade.
The facility should be as close to the centre of the grazing area as possible to minimise the walking time for cows and exposure to causes of lameness, for example, open holes and pits.
Access to power, proper drainage, location to relative water courses and local by-laws should be all considered. These include waste disposal, smell and noise pollution.
Align the building according to how much protection is needed from weather. The east-west alignment is best suited for the weather in Uganda.
Note that the sun comes from the east to the west.