How a proper breeding strategy increases income in dairy farming
When you set up a dairy farm you get income from selling milk and milk products, selling manure and selling good quality animals. Some progressive farmers sell their animals at very good rates only because they have a good breeding policy. The sole purpose of any breeding program is to generate income for the dairy farm
Farmers usually donot sell their best dairy animals in the market. They do so when they have some financial exigencies or when they are in the animal rearing business. Hence you may not get the best quality animals in the market at all times. As a long term strategy, breeding policy can be used as a tool to improve herd quality and milk production of subsequent generations.
Case study of dairy entrepreneur Ranjit
Our team at Teplu asked progressive dairy farmer Ranjit about the price at which he sells his cows and why he charges such an amount. He said “ I sell my cows at a minimum rate of INR 1,20,000 and above although the market rates may be INR 60000 to INR 80000. I have all the breeding records since the past ten years. I have used semen from good quality bulls that have superior performance.
I buy semen from only reputed companies. This has helped me in creating a breed of cows that give more milk and are more resistant to diseases. For example I have cows that are giving on an average 25 litres of milk. But when I started few years ago the average milk production per cow was 10-12 litres. I have been able to achieve this through a good breeding policy. Hence people are willing to pay a better price for my cows.”
Breeding for profitability
As you have learnt, whether you are a dairy farmer with two cows or 500 cows, if you have a good breeding policy then it will give you many benefits and additional income. For example if you have cows that are not giving milk as per your expectation, then you can easily develop good cows in your farm that will provide you the required milk yield. You can develop a pure breed or cross breed animals. A breed is simply a group of animals that have similar characteristics due to breeding and selection over the years.
Breeding means the crossing of the male and the female parents to get the off spring for the characters desired. A pure bred animal is one who’s parents are known with certainty and are of the same strain. A cross bred is produced by mating two different breeds of cows. Why? So that better offsprings can be produced. Cross breeding is done to bring the strengths or stronger characters of two different breeds into the offspring.
How do you achieve the breeding goals?
For the best breeding results choose the right sire for artificial insemination. It is the most effective and cheapest way to make progress toward genetic goals in a dairy farm. As a dairy farmer you shoud keep records and keenly observe the milk production of cows and their feed intake. Those animals which produce more milk while eating optimally should be considered for your goals of increasing milk production in the next generation. They should be mated with a superior bull.
Cows with identical genetic makeups will produce different amounts of milk when they are subjected to different environments. Hence you should select dairy animals for breeding as per the performance of cows in their respective environments. While purchasing such animals you should familiarize yourself with the environments which have led to superior performance.
How to avoid inbreeding in dairy farming?
Providing quality feed and fodder to our precious animals your responsibility as a dairy farmer. Quality of feed and feed ingredients plays an important role in the health and production performance of the dairy animals. And this directly plays an important role in whether the dairy farmer makes profits or losses. When you are going to change the feed or ingredients, the composition of feed and quality of feed should be analyzed.
You should take samples randomly from various parts of feed or fodder batches and collect them in plastic bags , seal them and transport to feed analysis lab. Protein, fat, carbohydrates, moisture, total ash, Acid detergent fibers or ADF, Neutral Detergent Fibres or NDF, Dry matter, calcium, phosphorus etc are determined through these tests in the lab.
Selecting the right semen straw for your dairy animals
Selection of right semen leads the dairy farm in right direction. Many dairy farm owners still ignore this topic saying that they have less number of animals. Most of the farmers donot bother to find out about sire directory, which is where all the information about the bull giving the semen is available. They never read information given on semen straw. They also don’t know which type of semen should be used.
For inseminating your dairy animals you can use following types of semen. Regular semen which you can get from trusted and reputed organisations. Imported semen which is brought from other countries. Sorted or sex semen which is used to get more of female calves. Progeny tested semen where the performance of the semen of a specific bull is known.
In case of sex sorted semen, the effeciency is relatively lower and it is costly compared to other types of semen. Remember to check with your supplier about conception rates. Ensure that the supplier always handles semen straws hygienically and keeps the staws thawed in sub zero temperatures inside a nitrogen tank. The leading companies supplying semen in India are ABS, ST Genetics & WWS.