How to Start Dairy Farming in Kenya
Dairy farming has grown to become a full-time job where many people are making a living from. The most common animals for dairy farming are cows and goats. The demand for dairy products is high, making dairy farming a profitable venture. To start dairy farming, you need to invest in the right cattle and feeds. We will show you how to start dairy farming in Kenya. This article will provide you with details on how to start dairy farm business in Kenya.
Research the Market
You need to survey the best location to set up your dairy farm. Consider the population and the available dairy market. Also, consider how you are going to preserve dairy products like milk. One of the ways is through milk pasteurization. Look for other places you can sell your dairy products apart from your local population.
Besides, you need to consider the ecological conditions and the breed that can do well in the area you wish to start the dairy farming business.
Determine the Amount of Capital for Dairy Farming
You need to have a list of items you need for your dairy farming business. This is what you need to start a dairy farm business:
- Dairy cattle
- Milking machine
- Chuff cutter
- A large piece of land
- A reliable source of dairy feeds
- Milk strainers and milk churns
- Knapsack sprayers
- Cow sheds
Build Proper Cow Sheds
The nature of a cowshed is a significant factor in milk production. Dairy cows need clean and dry sheds. Make sure to clean the cow sheds from time to time. Also, they should have a roof to prevent your cows from being rained on. Cow sheds should be large enough for free movement of cattle.
Invest in the Right Breed and Species
You need to have the right cattle that can produce large amounts of milk daily. Exotic breeds are preferred for dairy farming since they easily convert feeds into milk and give birth frequently. The best exotics breeds of cows include Friesian, Ayrshire, Guernsey and Jersey. You can also invest in exotic cows, but they are less productive compared to exotic cattle.
Essentially, when buying dairy cattle, look for one that can produce at least 15 liters of milk daily. Also, it should not be too old to give birth. A cow that gives birth frequently increases the number of your cows and produces more milk.
The type of feeds you give to your cows have a direct effect on milk production. Many farmers buy cows at high prices, only to make losses once the cows start producing less milk. It is because they do not give their cows proper and quality feeds.
You need to give your dairy cows fresh fodders, dry feeds, dairy meal, protein and supplements. You can grow fresh fodder to cut down the expenses of purchasing. Leave the fresh fodder overnight to wilt before feeding it to your cows. A dairy cow should eat between 15 and 20 kilograms of forage every day.
You also need to feed them with dry feeds like maize stover, wheat straw and rice straw. Soak the dry feeds in water or molasses before feeding them. Make sure that you feed them with supplements with proteins. One source of protein is calliandra, good high milk production.
If you do not have calliandra, you can use feed supplements. Finally, make sure that your dairy cattle have enough water. Proper feeding without adequate water will not convert into milk.
Read also: Best agribusiness ideas in Kenya.
Tips for Running a Profitable Dairy Farming Business
To run a profitable dairy farming business, you need the following tips. They will help you increase your revenues.
Proper Health Management
You need to put in place measures to prevent your dairy cattle from diseases. Immunize your dairy cattle from diseases frequently. Also, spray them to keep off ticks. Also, make sure to feed them with quality and balanced feeds. Get a qualified veterinary to advise you.
From time to time, you will need to cross-breed your cattle so that you have high-quality breeds that are resilient to your area's ecological conditions. The ecological considerations and type of available fodder and forage will help you decide the best breeds to cross.
Keep Dairy Farming Records
You need to keep records of production, sales, feeds, immunization, breeding and purchases of your dairy farm. It will prevent you from making mistakes and also track the revenues of your dairy farming business.
Read also: How to start milk business.
Preserve Dairy Products
Milk easily goes bad and as such, you need to store it properly. Before selling or storing milk, you need to pasteurize it so that it can stay longer. It is important to help you from losing the market or making losses due to frequent milk souring.
Cost of Starting Dairy Farming in Kenya
The cost of starting dairy farming in Kenya depends with the number of cows you want to rear. The cost of a high breed cow in Kenya is between Ksh 50,000 and Ksh 150,000 depending with the breed. You will also need to factor in other costs like how much it would cost you to feed your cows and the cost of constructing their sheds. You can start a small dairy farm with Ksh 500,000 and grow your business with time.
Is Dairy Farming Profitable in Kenya?
Yes. In fact, it is one of the most profitable businesses you can start small and grow. If you have many dairy cattle, you can start processing milk and generate extra revenue. Dairy farming will also provide you with manure that you can use for your crops or sell it. When a cow gives birth, milk production increases and the number of your cows also increase. That is how to start dairy business.