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Country Discussion Topics
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Starting a small dairy
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kyle    Posted 11-20-2003 at 16:42:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Im interested in starting a small dairy herd something like 25-30 head....I was wondering what the best breed to get would be and how much old used milking equipment costs and what the best kind of equpiment and setup is etc. etc.
I know it costs alot but something ive always wanted to do!!! Thanks!!


sven    Posted 11-21-2003 at 06:40:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
With the number of dairy farmers that are going out of business, the equipment you will need should be relatively cheap. You also need to ask yourself just how committed can you be? Those cows have got to be milked twice a day, seven days a week, no matter what. There will be no more sleeping in on saturday or sunday morning, no more summer vacations, and even a short day trip will be limited to the distance you can travel and still be home in time for the evening milking. You could have a hired man, but 25 to 30 head will not pay for a hired man. Just some things to consider.


Brian-2N    Posted 11-21-2003 at 05:10:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Kyle, first, don't.
Milk right now is selling for about $11.50/cwt, the lowest price in about 25 years.
Many dairy farmers across the country have either given up the farm, or taken to other types of farming.
The suggestion about an apprenticeship is great.
If you do want to try it, start with 1 cow or a cow/calf pair.
"The Family Cow" by Storey Books will help you a lot of your questions.
The type of cow depends on what you want for yield, orrichness of milk.
All cows give milk of course, but there are 6 recognized dairy types (as opposed to beef types).
Holsteins give the largest amount of milk per cow, but contain the lowest amount of butterfat.
The Jersey has the richest highest amount of butterfat, but produces the lowest yield. Its output is consistent with its size, about 300-500 smaller than a Holstein.
The Guernsey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn and Brown Swiss fall in the middle for output and butterfat content.
That should give you a start. Get the book and talk to some farmers in your area, and your County Extension Agent.


Murray    Posted 11-21-2003 at 04:34:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Kyle, Many years ago I had the same idea, it never materalized. Today I am quite happy that it was only another one of those thoughts/ideas that pass through a person's mind. Tough industry to enter, due to regulations and competition. As previously mentioned, employment on a dairy farm would be a GREAT experience, before investing too much time and money. All the best, Murray


deadcarp    Posted 11-20-2003 at 20:26:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
do yourself a huge favor kyle - find a job on a dairy farm, work there a few years and learn all you can. if you still like the job after that, at least you'll have given yourself a first-hand apprenticeship. if not, you'll have travelin money to try the next thing. :)


deadcarp    Posted 11-20-2003 at 20:25:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
do yourself a huge favor kyle - find a job on a dairy farm, work there a few years and learn all you can. if you still like the job after that, at least you'll have given yourself a first-hand apprenticeship. if not, you'll have travelin money to try the next thing. :)


Mike    Posted 11-20-2003 at 19:36:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Well your best bet to maximize cash flow would likely be holsteins. They might cost more and consume more feed, but nothing else will come close in productivity that I am aware of. That is all anyone uses around here (southwest Wi) for dairy, and we are supposed to be america's dairyland.

Don't know what to suggest for equipment, but try to keep initial cost as low as possible. Then upgrade over time with whatever profits there might be. Chances of sucess are higher that way then trying to service a huge debt load from the onset.


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