How to Improve Productivity at a Dairy Farm

How to Improve Productivity at a Dairy Farm

Dairy farms are known for their high production rates. They produce milk from cows every day, 365 days a year. The only thing they don’t produce is time. That’s why they need to increase their productivity levels.

Productivity is defined as the output produced per unit of input. For example, if you produce 100 units of cheese or milk per hour, your productivity level is 100/hour. This means that you should produce 100 units of cheese and milk with each hour you spend working.

What Steps Should Be Taken To Increase Milk Production?

Milk production depends on genetics, nutrition, health care, management, etc. Here are some of the most important ones:

1- Nutrition. Feeding a well-balanced diet improves milk yield. Cows require protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats for growth and lactation. High-energy diets increase milk yield.

2- Health Care. Good health care is essential for better milk production. Maintaining proper body condition, cleanliness, feeding, vaccinations, etc., boosts milk production.

3- Management. Proper management techniques will help in increasing the productivity of a dairy farm. Regular visits to the farm, cleaning stalls, etc., will enhance milk production. 

Get modern equipment for milk collection and handling. It will help you save time and money by reducing labor costs. Using an electric milking machine instead of a manual one reduces the cost of electricity much less than that of a manual milker. The robotic milk robots are very efficient and affordable and have a higher production capacity.

What Can We Learn From Studying Herd Performance?

The first lesson is that a small percentage of cows account for a large proportion of the total milk produced. The second lesson is that even if a farmer has a low number of cows, he can still increase his profit margin if he manages his resources efficiently.

Genetic Differences among Individual Cows

Cows differ greatly in their milk yields. Some cows give birth to twins or triplets, while others only have one calf per year. These genetic variations cause some cows to give birth to larger litters of newborns than others.

The size of each litter varies from 4 to 10 calves. Larger litters require more feed resources and result in lower milk yields. Therefore, a cow’s milk yield depends on its genetics and the amount of feed it consumes.

Managing Variation in Milk Yield

To overcome the variance in milk yield among individual cows, most dairy farmers adopt a strategy called “crossbreeding.” In crossbreeding, a breeder selects high-yielding cows from both breeds (i.e., Holstein and Jersey) and crosses them together.

The offspring from these matings are then bred back into the herd. Crossbreeding helps improve the herd’s overall milking ability by combining desirable traits from both breeds.

Another way to reduce variation in milk yield is to breed for improved milk quality. Breeding for higher fat content results in an increase in the concentration of butterfat in the milk. Higher concentrations of butterfat are required for making cheese.

Breeding for higher protein content also increases the number of milk solids. This increases the value of the milk when it’s processed into cheese or yogurt.

In addition, breeding for increased efficiency means that a single lactating cow will produce more milk than before. Thus, a farmer who used to sell 2,000 gallons of milk per day might now be able to sell 3,000 gallons.

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