If you’re interested in operating a dairy farm, there are some things you need to know before investing lots of time, effort, and money. After this short guide, you should walk away with more confidence and more information about the job!
Every Dairy Farm is Unique
First and foremost, every single dairy farm in the world is unique. Therefore, you don’t have to follow a template. In fact, one-size-fits-all approaches rarely work because you need to think about what you want to achieve from your dairy farm above everything else. Look online and you’ll quickly see that farmers and producers succeed using a whole manner of different strategies.
You Can’t Do It Alone
The next thing to know about operating a dairy farm is that you cannot do everything alone. Ultimately, you should position yourself as a manager, and sometimes managers delegate. It’s wise to partner with external consultants and people with many years of experience in the niche. Consultants will help to build a plan, outsource certain tasks, and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
If you’re good at some things and bad at others, you shouldn’t even attempt to do the latter – it only affects the longevity and prospects of the farm itself. Stick with the things you excel in and consider outsourcing the rest.
Planning is Key
Although this won’t come as a surprise, planning is perhaps the most important part of the process when operating a dairy farm. As well as working with consultants, do lots of research and decide how you wish the dairy farm to operate both long-term and on a day-to-day basis.
What breeds will thrive in your climate? What demand is there for specific products? What’s the average time for raising a calf? How much milk does a single cow produce? If you can’t answer these simple questions, it won’t be long before you’re shutting the gates on your dreams already.
Consider Licenses and Permits
Depending on where you are in Australia, you may need to contact the government for advice regarding your Australian milk company, licensing, paperwork, and permits. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as buying some land, investing in animals, and getting started. You may need permits and licenses to not only operate a dairy farm but also hire staff, sell milk, and irrigate the land.
Life is Tough
Even with lots of startup capital, operating a dairy farm isn’t going to be easy. You need to prevent the spread of disease, invest in high-quality equipment, monitor the growing competition, decide on food sources and breeding plans, consider irrigation systems and sterile facilities for storage, and plan transportation.
You need to understand breeding cycles, maintain living standards for all animals, give all animals the right nutrition, and roll with the punches (whenever they come!).
Consumer Needs are Evolving
Finally, you won’t go into this plan prepared if you aren’t warned of the constantly changing consumer needs. Back in the day, most consumers only cared about one thing – price. If you had the cheapest products, the business would do well. However, consumers no longer prioritise money. Instead, they pay attention to environmentally and socially conscious businesses.
Therefore, consider this in your dairy farm business plan. Allow your animals plenty of room to graze and meet the needs of consumers in 2021. Learn what’s important to your consumers and then try to meet them at every level. Even if it means a higher cost of production and, therefore, a higher selling price, this doesn’t matter.