Dairy Farming Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a collection of questions that are frequently asked by people who want to start a dairy farm:

Should I buy cows or buffaloes for my farm?

It depends on various factors. Cows give more milk than buffaloes. But buffalo milk fat content is twice as much as cow milk so buffalo milk gets better price. Milking a cow can be automated using milking machines - for buffaloes it is difficult. Buffaloes are more disease resistant than cows. Cows are cheaper than buffaloes. Detecting heat cycles in cows is easy. So there is no easy answer for the question. So ultimately It comes down to what is important to you. Personally we prefer buffaloes. You can also have both of them.

What are the types of buffaloes?

Murrah, Nili Ravi, Mehsana, Hariyana, Jaffarabadi, Surti and local breeds.

Which buffalo is suitable for dairy farming?

Though all buffaloes are suitable, Murrah buffalo is the most preferred choice of many dairy farmers.

How much milk does Murrah give per day?

It depends on each buffalo. It usually range from 8 liters per day to 16 liters per day. There are also Murrah buffaloes which yield above 16 liters per day.

What is the price/cost of Murrah buffalo?

It also depends on buffalo to buffalo. It usually ranges from Rs 55,000 to Rs 80,000 depending on the qualities of the buffalo. Very high yielding and high quality buffaloes could be as high as 3 Lakhs which are procured for breeding and competition purposes.

What qualities determine price of a Murrah Buffalo?

Size and structure of the Murrah, milk yield per day, hereditary of the buffalo and lactation cycle.

What is lactation cycle?

Lactation cycle is simply referred as lactation. It is the calving cycle of the buffalo. For example, second lactation means the buffalo has given birth for the second time.

Why is lactation cycle important?

Usually second lactation and third lactation animals are preferred. First lactation buffaloes might not be consistent as the buffaloes tend to adapt to motherhood. And beyond third lactation, the buffalo is aged.

How to identify lactation of a buffalo?

It comes by experience. It's usually easy to identify first lactation and over third lactation but it is bit difficult to differentiate between second and third lactation.

How many days in a year does Murrah buffalo give milk?

It usually ranges from 260 days to 300 days.

For how many days will the buffalo not give milk?

It is usually between 60 to 100 days. But if you have missed heat cycles then it could be very long.

What is heat cycle?

This is the period when the buffalo is ready to get pregnant again. This lasts 12 to 24 hours and during this period, the buffalo has to be mated with a bull or artificially inseminated.

How to identify heat cycle?

You have to identify by experience. Usually buffaloes make mating noise and urinate frequently when they are in heat.

When does the buffalo come to heat after calving (after giving birth)?

It could start 6 weeks after giving birth. Identifying heat cycle and impregnating the buffalo as soon as it comes to heat is one of the factors that determines success of a dairy farmer. This avoids buffalo having long dry (not giving milk between lactations) for long periods.

What is a dry period?

This is the period between when the buffalo stops giving milk and the next calving. If you have identified heat cycle early and mated the buffalo then this will be short or else it will be very long.

Note: A detailed article is available on how to manage dry cows efficiently and carefully. To read further, click here

Does the buffalo yield same amount of milk all through the lactation?

No. For example, a buffalo which yielded 10 liters per day at calving might increase to 12 liters per day at 3rd week and from there it slowly comedown to 10 liters and then stay the same way for long way and then it will slowly come down and come to a stop. So the overall yield for the entire lactation is more important.

How much profit can I make with one Murrah buffalo per month?

It depends on lot of factors and you can even make losses.

How to be successful in dairy farming?

  • Get into dairy farming only if you have the passion for farming.
  • Stay in the farm or atleast visit the farm every day.
  • Always start small, understand the challenges and then expand.
  • Try to start the farm with your own money. This avoids paying installments or interests.
  • Make sure you have good land where you can cultivate green grass and feed green grass to buffaloes.
  • Select good quality animals.
  • Try to buy dhana (feed concentrate) at the lowest possible price.
  • Take good care of the calves, these will be long term asset. The female calves can start milking after 3 years which reduces capital cost.
  • Make sure to identify heat cycle early and inseminate the buffalo. This will avoid long dry periods.
  • Make sure that the vetinary doctor visits the farm atleast once in a month.
  • Sell milk directly to the large consumers like hotels or tea-shops at best possible price.

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