Running a dairy farm Running a dairy farm

About Me

Running a dairy farm

I run a dairy farm, and this year has been quite hard. The work is never easy, but this year we've had to stretch the dollars further and work even longer hours to break even. I know a lot of dairy farmers are in the same boat. But we're an innovative industry, so I thought it would be useful to start a blog where we could swap ideas on how to maximise yields and bring down production costs on farms. The more we can share these ideas with each other, the better the whole industry will manage to get through the current downturn.

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Two ways that farmers can prevent unexpected expenses

If you run a small farm, an unexpected bill can wreak havoc on your finances and significantly reduce your business' profitability. As such, it's important to take steps to minimise the risk of unexpected expenses cropping up. Here are two such steps.

Be careful about how you store your stock feed

Stock feed that becomes mouldy or which gets contaminated with dangerous bacteria will not be safe for your livestock to consume. Because of this, if your stock feed gets damaged in this way, you will need to replace it.

Depending on the size of your herd, this could potentially end up costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Given this, it is sensible to do what you can to prevent your stock feed from getting destroyed. The best way to do this is to ensure that it is stored properly.

First and foremost, you should keep your feed in lidded storage bins, in order to minimise the amount of airborne dust and other contaminants that land on it throughout the day.

Secondly, you should sanitise these storage bins on a regular basis. When doing this, make sure to use non-toxic cleaning products so that if there is any residue left behind when you refill the bin, it won't contaminate the stock feed with dangerous chemicals and end up poisoning the animals who then consume this food.

Thirdly, if your farm is located in a warm, humid climate, it's important to ensure that the shed in which the storage bins are kept is properly ventilated, in order to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.

This will help to prevent mould from growing on the stock feed (mould tends to thrive in moist, warm and oxygen-rich environments). If the shed does not have any inbuilt ventilation, you may need to keep a portable extraction fan running in this area.

Keep your farm's sheds and fences in good condition

If the sheds and fences which you use to confine your livestock are in poor condition, there is a very high chance that these structures will get damaged or destroyed during a bout of stormy weather. If this should happen, your livestock could end up escaping.

This could lead to two serious problems. Firstly, these animals could get injured by a falling branch or a passing vehicle. If this should happen, you could find yourself with a very large veterinary bill.

Secondly, you may not be able to retrieve all of your escaped livestock, as the strong winds could make it unsafe for you to be outdoors, or the heavy rain could affect your ability to see clearly (particularly if this incident occurs at night). This could then result in you having to replace your lost livestock.

Given this, it is critical to check the condition of your farm's fences and sheds on a regular basis and to repair any damaged sections of these structures promptly.