I have been getting a constant stream of questions regarding dairy farming in Pakistan. I have tried to answer those questions to the best of my abilities.

The answers are given out of experience and basic, to-the-point study. I am definitely not an expert, but I do have access to experts in their respective fields within Dairy Farming. Please, I do not make any guarantees and the answers provided here should be put to use at your own risk.

I hope to pass on information and help people with this.

So here are the questions with their answers. I have pasted the question as-is, without any editing and grammar-correction etc.  The text in bold is the question as asked by people here on my blog.

OK, so here goes…

How to differentiate between good animal from an average, does it have some in special marking?

What do we mean when we say, “good animal”? Is it good in terms of breed, or in terms of milking capacity? In our case i.e. Dairy farming, a good animal is one that is of good breed and gives at least 15 liters of milk, averaged over one lactation period.
A lot of people have a lot of different ways of identifying good animals, but once you establish what a good animal means to you, it becomes easier to filter out the good ones from the bad ones.

For example: I buy an animal after milking the animal over a period of two days. My farm manager would go to the place where I have selected the animal, stay the night there, milk the animal three time to establish the average milk yield. My personal formula is that the third milking is the real milk literage. I don’t take an average, as some people suggest. So yes, I have rejected a few animals that were giving 10 liters per milking, only to give 4 liters on the third milking. The person selling the cow probably had done something to the animal to sell it at a higher price. But I don’t like to judge people like that, so I follow this simple formula:

if the animal give at least 7 liters on the third milking, then I am interested in buying it.

This way, I know that at least the milking capacity of the animal is above average i.e. It is a good animal. Hope this has helped.

You travelled 2000Km to get good animals, which area/who has good animals?

So you want to save yourself the trouble of traveling 2000 kms? 🙂 No problems! Sargodha district is mashoor famous for buffalo. It is also a good area to buy cross-bred cows from. I have bought some good animals from there. I have also seen the best buffalo being kept by none other than the five-time Presidential Award winner (for Breeding!) Mr Malik Hanif. He is based in Hafizabad.

But I have bought most animals from Mr Naeem Malik, of Rachna Services. You can check out his website and his track record so-far has been excellent, mashAllah. His company deals with a lot of corporate sector dairy farms and his passion and experience together makes him a very knowledgable and helpful teacher as well!

My friend have also bought three buffalo from Malik Hanif and they are averaging 14 liters (last time I checked), which is almost unheard of as far as buffalo are concerned. He (Mr Malik Hanif) too has been very forthcoming and helpful.

If some one had 50 cows/buffalos and they were producing 12-14 litres of milk how much profit would a person have in hand at the end of the year, just give me a round figure
This question was answered in the comments section. You can see the answer by goin to that comment (click here).
Mohammad Akram asked:

I have established one dairy farm at Chunian. just added 35 Crossed fresian heifers. want to go for more 75+100 heifers +50 cow. i have added two 100% fresian male two months old but these just died 15 days back. i want some guide lines to reconstruct dairy shed. it is concluded shed is not supporting to tackle heat effects on the fresian breed. your kind advise will be highly appreciated

The heat does have very adverse affects on animal health. I have cross-bred cows and have no direct experience of pure-bred Fresian cows. I do know that without proper shed construction, the pure-breds (especially the frail Fresians) do die! The proper way to make a shed is to make sure it:

  1. Provides for wind circulation. This means that it should have openings on the side and should be relatively high, to induce all-day-long circulation.
  2. Provides protection from the elements, especially the sun. Do not go and make sheds that I call ‘airports’; some consultants would want you to spend all of your money on the sheds! But a shed, and a well-constructed and a well-maintained one is necessary. If you are starting out, make sure you have the shed ready, along with silage ready in the silage pits and calf cages ready for the calves.

The most detailed advice regarding shed construction can be had from PDDC (Pakistan Dairy Development Company). Their contact details can be found here.

And my question to Mr Akram: You have Cross-Bred Fresian heifers? What exactly do you mean? Cross-bred from which breed? I am interested to know more! 🙂 I too plan to eventually ‘upgrade’ to pure-breeds (or what we call F1 breed!), rather than cross-breeds.

My own shed that I have constructed was an experiment in itself. I did end up saving quite a lot of money on shed construction alone. More details on that soon, inshAllah.

Irfan asks:

One other question I had is: If I have 1 acre (44,000 sq ft) of land, my guess is around 7000 sq feet will be needed for the shed. Will the remaining land be able to produce fodder/silage for the 100-animal herd or are other means needed to procure that ?

You would need more than one acre to produce fodder for 100 animals. You’d need at least once acre per 3 animals for one year (or one acre for 5 animals if you are really, really short of space and/or money). For 100 animals, you’d need at least 25 Acres of land where you can grow fodder for the animals. With 25 acres, you would be able to make silage twice a year, and then grow and sell Wheat (kanak) in the Winter season to offset your price of fodder – but that’s if you are really disciplined about it.

I want to be very clear on this: make sure you make silage from the fodder. The only green fodder your animals should be exposed to is barseem (that is available abundantly in Winters, and is very good for milk production!)

 

Omer asked four questions:

Price of good cross breed animal? Currently, it is between 110,000 to 200,000. The most I have paid for a cross-bred is 180,000. But there is no standard of price! Bargain and find trusted sources, that is my advice, even if you have to travel 2000 kms! 🙂

Milk Production ( kg/ day )? Target milk production of 15 liters over the lactation period. That means that you animals should start around 18 liters, and then it will drop to about 10 or even 8 before you stop milking it (for the last two months of dry period before the cow gives birth!).

Cost of feed ( per day / animal )? Calculate the cost of producing the feed, and you will have to do it in your area. The costs of land lease and labor and selling price vary significantly, so your cost of feed may be different. Some say 200 rupees per day per animal. Some say 350 per day. There is no fixed answer for this, I am afraid. Good luck!

Is there any other feasibility study available apart from SMEDA? I wish! That is why I am working on one. I particularly do not appreciate the way SMEDA’s feasibility is laid out; it seems to be for people who already have money lined up for this project. I want to make a feasibility that tell you the report from the trenches! How to save costs of construction, How to buy good animals etc. That feasibility gives you the numbers and stops there. (But then again, most feasibilities are supposed to do only that, so I guess I can’t complain. I imagine a lot of people has been inspired by SMEDA’s pre-feasibly studies nonetheless, which is a very cool thing!)

Q Farms had the following question:
http://momekh.com/2011/03/23/dairy-farming-in-pakistan/comment-page-1/#comment-2996
we are into farming we grow crops of various kind cash crops and food crops. If we want to step in to dairy farming , how much finance do you think required to by pass the thresh hold ?
How many buffalo / cows good to start with?

It is the perfect mix, I think. Dairy farming is a great addition to an already running agriculture concern, like you have mentioned. The costs can very easily be offset and overheads shared across the two enterprises. I know from experience that this is very beneficial.

The finance you need to step into dairy farming depends really, on how you intend to go about it. I suggest that given the nature of dairy farming itself, and the problems of buying good dairy animals, one should try to take it slow.

For example, instead of buying 10 animals or 40 in one hit, buy 2 animals every month. Research and find those good animals, as that is one of the most important activities as a dairy farm owner. I understand that a lot of finance gurus will gawk at this advice of blocking capital and letting it just lay around, while you slowly buy assets. But I am talking from my personal experience; even after careful buying practices, I have bought some bad animals. I know that big, bank-sood-funded dairy farms buy 50 to 100 animals in one hit, only to sell them off three months later to buy another 50 to 100. I suggest that you take the approach that best suits your own lifestyle plans.
Qamar Ishaq has asked: plz also inform me the average per day of pure sahiwal cow. Thanks

Short Answer: I do not know because I have been told not to look into pure bred Sahiwal cows.

Now, here’s the longer story:

Pure Sahiwal cows reminds me of two very interesting characters. One is Malik Hanif; he had pure Sahiwal cows (one would set you back at least 500,000 rupees; yes, you read that right, five lac rupee for one pure Sahiwal cow). The milk can be anywhere between 18 to 22 liters, but I am not hundred percent sure on the milking capacity. Malik Hanif does not have that many pure Sahiwal cows, but he is a registered breeder of Sahiwal cows, and is a wealth of information on these.

The second character, another ustaad of mine :), is Chaudry Rafiq. He was referred to me and my friend by Malik Hanif. Mr Rafiq is a registered breeder of Sahiwal cows too. But he is passionate about Sahiwal cows, like Mr Hanif is passionate about Buffalo. And Mr Rafiq too was exceptionally helpful, going with us to famous Chichawatnee mannddee (farmers’ cow market) to help us buy cross-bred cows.

He himself told us NOT to buy pure bred Sahiwal because their milking is not high enough for a commercially-oriented dairy farm. He was seventy-one years old, went with us to the market, knew everybody there it seemed and did not have a hint of tiredness at the end of the day, whereas me and my friend were tired and thirsty and hungry! I am telling you, the world has a lot of passionate and crazy people who go to great lengths to learn and apply their knowledge! I will remember these two gentlemen for a long, long time, God willing. If I am even half as crazy and passionate about anything, I think that will be God’s blessing unleashed! God give them strength, further recognition and further mastery of their fields!

Aleem asked three questions:

What is the best way to overcome the current electricity problem, I have heard that biogas is one option, hi viable is this for a farm of 50. And is solar an option as well. I’m assuming Not much electricity is used on these farms, except in summer.(just a guess)?

Electricity problem is definitely a grave probem for dairy farmers. In summers, you need cooling systems for your dairy farm, but without electricity, the cooling systems DO NOT work! So you need some way of producing electricity. As you ask about Bio Gas, I have had the pleasure of visiting a place near the city of Pakpatan, called Naagpaal. I can assure you that I have seen it from my own eyes; BioGas is very much a reality and people are using it to their great advantage! Two generators, one to power the dairy farm, and one to power the person’s house including two split AirConditioners was enough proof for me that BioGas is very much viable. I will share the details of BioGas when I start construction of my own inshAllah! Dua karain, please do pray. 🙂

what help is available I have heard that nestle will help you but then you are tied into a contract with them, is this true and is it worth doing.
Yes it is true. And yes, in most cases, it is worth it. 🙂

What the Pakistan dairy association, are they of any help at all, I have noticed that there website has not been updated for several years now.
If your mean PDDC, then yes, they have been helpful. By that I mean that they answered my questions and gave me a few contacts to follow up on. I guess that is all that is required. But this was after I coordinated on the phone with them and met one of their reps – they had a gora foreigner actually come over to meet me at a restaurant; from his accent I asked him if he was from Australia. He was not happy as he was from New Zealand. I guess Australia-New Zealand are like Pakistan-India? 🙂

How many cows u have currently?
8 milking animals currently. Only.

Amir asked the following questions:

Just want to ask and request you guys to please share your knowledge about the use of Solar energy fro Agri purpose ? I have done some research on it, but that had been from a ‘technical’ perspective, not from a ‘business’ perspective (it is important to know the difference, I think). As Amir here suggests, I would also request the people here to give us their experiences with Solar energy to be used on commercial dairy farms etc? I know people are doing it, but unlike my experience with BioGas, I have not yet seen solar powered anything. 🙂

What is average daily cost of fodder per cow? Have answered it above.

Ohsan Amin asks: It would be great if you can provide me the contact of people who are either breeders or local suppliers for buffaloes “Reliable Ones”. I am also looking for a good pedigree bull for bufs. Let me know what could be the range and where could i find one.
The bull for buffalo can be as much as 120,000 (I know because my dear friend had paid that much for a high-quality buffalo bull that we bought from Mr Malik Hanif himself!).
For Cross-Bred purchasing and information, Mr Malik Naeem (Rachna Services). And the two persons mentioned above (Mr Malik Hanif and Mr Chaudry Rafiq), their contact numbers I wouldn’t want to paste here. Maybe, if you contact me over the contact form?

And Amir again asked the following questions, and I do not mind at all; Keep ’em coming and let’s help each other out.

How to get / hire a good Farm manager please briefly describe the qualities of a good Farm manager because you have one of them?

I recently hired a ‘trainee’. I am most peculiar about my employees, may they be working for my dairy farm, or my Kemaak cake and/or milk distrbution or for any of my small Internet/Online enterprises. I will probably end up writing a bloody manifesto right here so I will control myself and tell you that the single most important thing you can do is hire the right person. I can only tell you this; if there is only one thing you could ask God, then ask for the right person for the job! (It is highly awesome that you can ask God for a lot of things, and one should of course, but I hope you get the point 🙂 ).

The market rate is anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 for a degree-holding dairy farm manager. I had set the limit that I’d hire a farm manager when I reach 10 milking animals (as that would be sufficient complexity for a middle-manager to take care of!), but I am so-far happy with my decision to hire one and train him as we inshAllah move along.

Good luck, bhai, in finding your farm manager!

What should be and average package for a Farm Manager? See above 🙂

Importance of water at dairy farm? As much as the animals want. Doctors tell me that a cow producing 5 liters of milk requires around 25 to 30 liters of water. Water is very important and in fact, that is the MAIN reason that you shouldn’t tether your animals and let them roam about, so they can drink the water from the pakki-khurli (brick-lined) whenever they want to!

I hope I have answered most of the questions here. Keep ’em coming and God bless and good luck in your conquests and queries.

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