How to start a dairy farm in India?

To start a dairy farm in India you will need to study the local market and understand the requirement pattern, understand animal and feed management, construct the shed and apply for some licences.

Dairy farming in India is a very popular and profitable agribusiness. Dairy alone contributes 4% of India’s GDP and employs a very large no. family labour. If you have questions like “how to start a dairy farm in India”, “how can I start a dairy farm in India” or “how to open a milk dairy farm” then follow the steps to avoid any mishaps and capital losses when starting your dairy farm.

1. Study the market

This is the first step to set up a dairy farm in India. Study the market and understand the demand pattern for milk and dairy products. Generally, health conscious urban customers want low fat milk but rural customers and commercial establishments like tea shops, restaurants, hospitals, hostels etc. want high fat milk.

2. Choose the breed

After conducting the market research you will need to choose between cow and buffalo. Buffalo milk is high in fat compared to cow but high yielding cross breeds like Holstein and Jersey produce more milk than high yielding buffalo like Murrah and Mehsana.

You may also opt for desi/indigenous cow. There is also an increasing market for A2 milk from local/desi cows like Gir, Sahiwal etc. If you market well then desi cow dairy farm can be more profitable.

3. Learn dairy farming in first hand

This is the most important factor before starting a dairy farm. You should visit as many dairy farms as possible. Learn to manage a dairy farm efficiently including feed management, animal management, disease management, handling of pregnant animals and newborn calves etc. There are few ways to learn those things-

  • Visit dairy farms
  • Work for a dairy farm even for free
  • Take dairy farming training from various govt. and non govt. institutes
  • Hire a dairy farming consultant for professional management

4. Take advice from experts

Talk with local veterinary, animal health center, block level officers, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, agricultural/veterinary university etc. and ask about your idea on dairy farming in your area.

5. Make a dairy farm business plan

You should make a dairy business plan or dairy farm project report to calculate the required investment, recurring expenses and return in advance. You’ll also need the project report you want to apply for a dairy farm loan. You may also apply for government subsidy under various schemes.

6. Select suitable land for dairy farm

The land for the proposed dairy farm must not be waterlogged or flood prone. Requirement of land should be calculated as per the no. of animals and fodder cultivation. If you plan for green fodder cultivation then the cultivable land should be near the dairy shed. The land must also have good water availability as cows need 5 liters of water for each liter of milk production. So, you will need 100 liters of water for a 20 liter milk producing cow.

7. Prepare the shed

You will need to build different sheds for animals, tools and equipment, milk storage and an office cum rest room for farm labourers. Some other constructions like fencing, water storage tank bore well etc. should be completed before the animals arrive.

8. Select quality animals

Buy quality animals from trusted sources. If you are buying animals after the first lactation then do milking 3 times before buying to confirm the milk producing capacity. Good quality cross breed cows give at least 16-17 liters of milk per day and buffalos give around 12 liters per day.

9. Manpower requirement

Mostly family labourers work in small dairy farms in India. For large dairy units one must choose hardworking sincere farm workers/managers. Labourer required for green fodder harvesting, fodder chopping, feed preparation, animal management, milking etc.

10. Waste management

Dairy farming is a business where the waste can be valuable if converted into byproducts. Cow dung can be used to produce biogas which in turn will reduce energy requirements for the farm. The decomposed slurry can be converted into vermicompost and used to cultivate green fodder or sold to other farmers for organic farming in open markets.

11. Apply for license

You should contact your local panchayat or municipality for license requirements to start a dairy farm. Large dairy units may need clearance from the pollution control board. If you’re planning to sell dairy products directly to the consumer then you should apply for FSSAI license. You may also follow various BIS standards to build the dairy structures.

Download Dairy Farm Project Report

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