Suppose you want to own and operate a dairy farm. Maybe you see an economic opportunity in dairy farming that you’d like to capture. Or, perhaps the farming life is what you’ve always wanted for yourself. Whatever your reason may be, you’ll need an essential list of equipment to get your dairy farm up and running.
Essentially, you’ll need specialized farming equipment to fulfill three specific purposes:
- To house your dairy cows comfortably
- To feed them,
- To milk them
To accommodate them comfortably, you’ll need to prepare a shelter for them equipped with a mist cooling system to keep them comfortable.
Then, you’ll need a feed grinder or green fodder cutter to ensure that your cows are well-fed at all times. When it comes to milking your cows, you may not want to do it all by hand. Instead, you’ll want to invest in milking equipment and large milk cans to store the milk.
But don’t forget your auxiliary equipment, though! To power all your other gear, you’ll need a generator that can supply your farm with enough power.
Lastly, you’ll need things like ropes, water pipes, gear to tag your cows with, and more. With this essential list of equipment, you could start a small or medium-sized dairy farm.
Suppose you plan on starting a dairy farm that’s larger, perhaps with 50 or more cows. In that case, you’re going to need much larger and more industrial versions of the same equipment mentioned above, along with other specialized equipment for large-scale dairy farming, in order to make your dairy farm financially feasible.
Now that you’ve asked the critical question of ‘What equipment is needed for dairy farming?’, it’s time for the next step. Still, before you start shopping around for this dairy farm equipment, let’s first take a closer look at each of the ones mentioned above. With a basic understanding of each of their functions and purposes, you’ll be able to make better-informed decisions when purchasing your equipment.
Equipment To House Dairy Cows
Firstly, let’s discuss the equipment you need to house your dairy cows comfortably.
One of the most essential things you need for your dairy cows is a shelter of some sort, like a cowshed. It’s important not to underestimate the importance of a shelter that’s comfortable and clean. Firstly, an adequate shelter will provide your dairy cows with refuge from the elements around your dairy farm. Your cows will never have to suffer in the rain or the frigid temperatures of winter. Plus, you’ll also be providing them with the ability to avoid the scorching heat during the summer months.
Still, the inside of the cowshed itself is just as important as the structure itself. You have to keep it clean and dry inside. In doing so, you’ll keep your cows healthy and prevent any infections from spreading.
When your dairy cows are comfortable and healthy, they’ll produce a much higher milk yield for you.
In simpler terms, happy cows mean a happy dairy farmer!
Mist Cooling System
Another critical piece of equipment focuses on the climate inside the cowshed. A basic form of that is a mist cooling system, just like the ones you might see in some public places during the summer.
Mist cooling systems are pretty straightforward. They consist of small, perforated hoses that you’ll run all around your cowshed. As water flows through those hoses, they’ll spray a cool-mist all over the inside of the cowshed, keeping everything inside it cool.
That is particularly important in the summer months when temperatures start to rise a little too high for comfort. Even though the cows are indoors and away from direct sunlight, they may also struggle if the inside of the cowshed is far too hot. That’s where the mist will save the day, by lowering the temperatures and keeping indoor conditions more comfortable.
Remember: if you successfully keep your dairy cows comfortably and happy, they’ll give you a higher yield of milk in return. Everybody wins!
Equipment To Feed Dairy Cows
With the dairy cows now comfortable indoors, you’ll also need equipment to help feed them.
For dairy farmers who choose to use livestock feed made of grain, a feed grinder is a necessity. The feed grinder is essentially a mill that mixes and grinds the livestock feed for the benefit of the dairy cows.
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This piece of equipment is a necessity if you intend on feeding the cows a grain-based diet. With a feed grinder, you’ll be able to determine the exact formula of ingredients that you’d like to provide to your dairy cows. That includes ingredients such as corn, maize, grass, grains, and much more. When put through the grinder, all of those ingredients are ground, pulverized, and then mixed.
After being processed by the feed grinder, the cows will have a much easier time eating and digesting the feed. Their bodies will be able to absorb all the nutrients much more efficiently, keeping them healthy, happy, and maximizing their milk yields.
Green Fodder Cutter
Alternatively, you could also invest in a green fodder cutter. Green fodder is a type of feed for your dairy cows that consists of green crops like legume, cereal, grass, and tree-based crops. If you’d like to use green fodder to feed your cows, you’ll need to use a mechanical device to cut them into small pieces. Once that’s done, you can mix that with other ingredients and feed it to your dairy cows.
The reason a green fodder cutter is so essential is that it cuts the feed into small-enough pieces. Those pieces are then more manageable for the cows to chew, swallow and digest without any problems.
Equipment To Milk Dairy Cows
To milk your dairy cows, you can either do it by hand or with the help of milking equipment. If you only have a small number of dairy cows, hand-milking might be feasible.
However, it’s still a lot of physical labor that requires loads of your personal energy. For larger numbers of cows, you’ll need to rely on milking equipment, as hand-milking is no longer feasible.
Check out this video of a smart dairy farming solution that is offered by Lely.
Even when it comes to milking equipment, dairy farmers have the option of using simple milking machines or high-tech, fully-automated milking equipment. If you’re just starting with a small or medium-sized dairy farm, you’ll probably want to invest in a simple dairy cow milking machine.
Those machines typically consist of teat cups which are attached to the cows’ teats. Then, each teat cup alternates between two pressurized states; one being a vacuum, the other being a normal air pressure state. By alternating between both modes, the teat cups will extract milk from the cow which then flows into a collection container.
Last but not least, you also have milk cans. Their purpose is simple: to temporarily store and transfer milk from where it’s collected, to where it’s processed, and then shipped out.
These milk cans are available anywhere from two gallons to more than ten gallons each, depending on your needs. Equipment manufacturers also produce them using many different materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and even food-grade plastic. As you might imagine, plastic milk cans are cheaper and lighter, though they may not be as durable as stainless steel or aluminum-type cans.
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