Do you know that you can make huge legal income from dairy farming in Nigeria?
Now, before we go into the explanations of how to start a dairy farm in Nigeria, let’s look at what dairy farming is all about.
Introduction to Dairy Farming Business
According to wikipedia.org, dairy farming is;
“A class of agriculture for the long-term production of milk, which is processed (either on the farm or at a dairy plant, either of which may be called a dairy) for an eventual sale of a dairy product.”
A dairy farming is when your rear cow for the sole aim of milk production.
This business is or may not be popular, yet it is among the many agricultural ventures that are worth investing into. So if you are looking for a good business to do in Nigeria, then you should consider dairy farming.
The most remarkable fact about dairy farming is that one can easily be assisted by the government. In this article, we will discuss on how to apply for a loan from the government.
How high is milk consumption in Nigeria?
Milk is loved by all in Nigeria, no matter the culture. This is because; it is a high source of protein aside leguminous plant which is required for body growth, both mentally and physically.
It is also known that dairy products supply the most important amino acid required for body building as well as tissues maintenance in human beings. Animal protein similarly supplies its own level of energy required for daily activities. It is also essential for the synthesis of certain hormones, enzymes and body products in both man and animals
Nigeria is among the largest producer of cow milk in West Africa and the third in Africa. Aside from importing cow milk, Nigeria tries to meet up with the 1.45 billion liters estimated national milk requirement.
Presently, it has been estimated that local production of milk is less than 1% of the total annual demand of 1.45 billion liters.
This shows that cow milk does not reach all Nigerian. It has also been noted that about 500,000 cows and between 300,000 to 400,000 hectares of land are required to meet the national demand of milk for the country.
Through the above estimations, we can see that dairy farming in Nigeria needs more investors.
How much do farmers make from dairy farming business in Nigeria?
I know a lot of you might be wondering about this. You might be thinking; “If I go into diary farming business, how much will I be making?”
Here is the catch,
In every business, at the beginning, a constant flow of income cannot be certain but as time goes on, income will be steady. So, in a rough estimation, if you practice the required steps or proper strategies, you will be making good amount of money, sufficient enough to help you overcome the ongoing recession.
Now let’s move to the main point;
How to start a Dairy farming business in Nigeria.
You need to be knowledgeable in dairy farming business
The first and the most important thing you need to know is that you must either be experienced, knowledgeable or bring in an expert when starting a dairy farming business in Nigeria.
Why is this necessary? You might be asking.
The truth is that you are dealing with cows, and they most times might be aggressive, stubborn or not complying. So you need to be experienced in other to know what to do to them when the time comes.
But do not let these be a setback or makes you feel reluctant into setting up your own dairy farming business because, when you look at it in another way, it’s for your own benefit in the long run.
You can start your diary farming business by talking to other dairy farmers. Try as much as possible to make all the necessary inquiries on how they manage their dairy farms.
You can also speak with veterinarians, nutritionists, agronomists, bankers, extension educators, and others that can provide a different point of view on the management of your dairy.
Housing Your Cows for Dairy Business in Nigeria;
You should prepare a comfortable housing for your cows when starting a dairy farming. Make a housing that is free from much sun and rain.
It should have a properly fencing at night to prevent thieves. You should consult a builder who is experienced in it to avoid any mistakes. And, also keep cost in mind when doing so.
Exploration for and purchasing of good cows breeds for your dairy farming
The next most important thing is that you should purchase the best cows for your breeding. You can also crossbreed if want to get a better result.
Lists of good breeding cows are;
You should know that each of these cows/cattle has it characterizes… (You should inquiry about these before purchasing)
Your cow may display some signs which show that they may be under heat or calving (giving birth to a calf)
Signs of calving
The cow will have loss of appetite and become restlessness, have a stiff udder and have an obvious discharge of mucus from the enlarged vulva.
Note; any cow due for calving should be isolated one week before calving for closer attention. And any milking cows should be dried after 10 months of milking, and it should be steamed up by giving it concentrates for the next two months before calving.
You should massage the udder by lightly squeezing and pulling the teats and patting her on the back. Newborn calve after birth should be allowed to suckle the mother the first 24 hours to get colostrums before isolating it. Remember, if you are not quite experienced in this then please consult a veterinarian. Watch closely and learn from he/her.
Signs of Heat in cows
When your cows are under heat, they may drop in milk production, bellow, have a dilated and enlarged vulva, climbing on other cows or standing still while being mounted on by other cows and becoming restless.
The heat period lasts from 6 to 30 hours.
Feeding for your cows
The next step is to determine your cow feeds. Green forage like leguminous forage plant, sweet potato vines and many others like wheat straw, Rice straw maize Stover etc can be given to your cows. You should chop all feeds and put them in the troughs or a container to avoid been wasted.
The quality should be about 40-70kg of chopped forage per day that is, in the morning and in the evening.
Note; for the minerals administration, Maclic super should be given to your dairy cows and Maclic plus for your young claves.
Establishment of Zero grazing units
There is Field grazing and Zero grazing.
There are three types of field grazing methods which include; (Set Stocking, Rotational, and Strip Grazing).
For the Zero grazing, this is the best practices, particularly for beginners. For better understanding, zero grazing means feeding your cows with cut grass brought to them instead of putting them out to pasture.
Setting up your zero grazing units can be done using cheap materials in other to lower cost. It is recommended that a cemented floor is chosen because of the constant washing required.
For your feeding method
– Feed trough should be sufficient to accommodate 40-70 kg of chopped feed material per day
– The forage should be chopped before feeding and feed troughs should be used.
– Concentrates should be given to high yielders during milking i.e. to say those producing over 10 kg of milk per day.
Hygiene for Zero Grazing Units
A proper and high hygiene should be followed to prevent your cows from contacting diseases. Remember that when your cows are healthy then they can produce a high amount of milk.
Concrete floors should be washed daily.
Dung should be removed every day and heaped away from the unit
Water should be nearby and should be changed daily after cleaning the water trough.
Dry beddings should be supplied in the cubicles and in calf pens.
Hoofs of all cows should be trimmed regularly as need be.
Note; the quality and quantity of water and feed you give to your cows will determine the amount of milk they will produce for you. A sick cow will slack in milk production. Know when to administer drugs to your cows if need maybe. If possible, get the help of a veterinarian.
Diseases and pest you should look out for;
Infection; this could be caused by virus and bacteria. The signs you will notices are dehydration and cows or calf will start weakening fast. You should contact your veterinarian.
Lack of good nutrition; if your cows are lacking in good nutrition, which could be caused by dirty milk, dirty buckets, overfeeding. Then it will show signs such as calf scours, loss of appetite, a rise in temperature, dejectedness, and dehydration.
You can control it by reducing or completely withdraw milk for two to three meals or you can also replace it with warm water mixed with half tablespoon of baking powder plus two tablespoons of common salt and 110g of glucose (should be mixed with 4.5 liters of warm water).
Eto-parasites; parasites like lice, flies, fleas or ticks may attack your cows and you can get rid of them by regular dipping or spray with approved and effective acaricides and insecticides.
Endoparasites; like flatworms, liver flukes may also attack your cows. You should consider Dose calves with recommended anthelmintics at 4 months and every 6 months thereafter.
Calf Pneumonia; the disease can happen if the calf is exposed to sudden chilly conditions. The noticeable signs are shallow and rapid breathing, coughing and refusing to eat. It can be controlled by housing them properly and also calling your veterinarians.
Milk Production of Your Dairy Business in Nigeria
If the above steps are followed carefully, you cow should be healthy enough to produce good quality milk. Then it is time to milk them.
You can either use a milking machine for easier milking or you milk with hand. Either one, your processes should be neat.
To milk clean milk you should;
The environment where you are milking your cow should be neat. The floor should be cemented for easy cleaning.
There should be a good source of water close at hand.
Farm animals should not have entrance to the milking room or shed during the day.
The udder of the cow should be washed and cleaned with clean water and a clean cloth to prevent infection. The hairs around the udder should be cuts carefully too and tails of a troublesome animal should be tied too.
You should dispose of fore-milks.
Separate sick animals from the healthy ones and milk them last.
Check for mastitis (Inflammation of a breast or udder) before milking.
The milker should be neat also. Nails, hair, and hands should be clean.
Do not smoke while milking; remember you are selling it and you don’t want people to find fault in it.
The milker should milk continuously with interrupting.
Packaging Your Dairy Farming Milk;
Now you are done with your milking and you think it’s ready for marketing. You should package your product attractively. Because people are attracted to beautiful things. You can package it in a bottle or whatever way you want. Just make sure you brand your product to stand out in the dairy farming business and attract customers.
Other Things you should consider;
Make a business plan
Have a record keeping of your dairy farming business. Write in it what has been bought, sold or done. A record helps you to know where you are heading to in your business.
Know the feed type and method that works best for you and stick to it. Know that what works for others might not work for you.
Create a good waste management in your farm to prevent infection from spreading.
For capital; loan can be granted by the government or agricultural banks. Apply with a good business plan.
Whatever you are trying to purchase try as much as possible to lower cost.
For your labor; you might want to do it yourself but know that it won’t be easy. Consider having an assistant or your family members might be of help.
Dairy farming business in Nigeria is one of the many ways one can boom in the agricultural sector. Many people do not know about it, now you know, make use of it. The above steps will help you start up yours.