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Keeping cows at home is difficult. Feeding and caring for cattle is time consuming and expensive. A cow is a large animal, unlike a bird or rabbits, so before starting it, you need to think about whether you will be able to cope with the entire volume of work, calculate whether there will be a profit. Consider whether it is profitable to keep a cow on your farm, what the costs and possible income will be.
For whom breeding is suitable
Keeping even 1 animal, not to mention several, means almost always being with him. It is required to feed and water him, clean, graze, milk at least 3 times a day. All this takes a huge amount of time. And you need to do this every day, without weekends and holidays. This must be taken into account even before purchasing an animal. If there are several cows, 1 person will not be able to pay attention to everyone, and an assistant will be needed.
You also need to take care of the feed for the cow, a place to store hay and root crops, and, of course, the barn where she will live. Find a pasture to graze. If the animal cannot be provided with something necessary, it is not worth starting it. Any deviation from the standards of maintenance results in the fact that the cow reduces productivity, starts to get sick, and this entails additional expenses.
Keeping cows for milk and meat, getting calves is beneficial only to those who have land to build a dwelling for them, there is where to graze, since in the summer cows can live by eating one grass, which makes the products obtained at this time cheap ...
It is immediately necessary to resolve the issue with the sale of products, this is important, because the total income from a home farm directly depends on the cost of milk and meat. If you find loyal customers willing to pay a good price, you can make a profit every day throughout the year.
Purchase of animals
Whether or not it is beneficial to keep cows depends on the number of heads and the origin. The more animals, the greater the cost of feed and work performed, but the resulting products are cheaper. As for the thoroughbredness of cows, in any case, it is more profitable to have thoroughbred animals, because they were bred specifically for the necessary agricultural characteristics, in dairy breeds - in terms of milk yield, in meat breeds - in live weight. Outbred individuals will never be able to compare with pedigree in the amount of production that they can give, no matter how well they feed.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
Of course, thoroughbred cows are more expensive, you will have to pay a considerable amount for them, but they will pay off as a result.
The cost of purchasing animals must also be included in the expense item. You can buy an adult dairy cow (on average, 50 thousand rubles) or a heifer (from 15 thousand rubles), calves for fattening. Their cost will be different, depending on age, gender and breed.
Premises and necessary equipment
One cow can live in a small room, but it should be warm, clean, light. You can't keep an animal anywhere. At the same time, expect that, being in a dark, damp, stuffy room, it will be able to realize its full potential. Each stall should be equipped with individual feeders and drinkers, it is desirable that the floor be equipped with a drain through which the slurry will be removed from the barn.
In addition to a room for cows, in a private house you need to take care of where hay, root crops, vegetables, and compound feed will be stored. Why it matters: If you buy feed after collecting it at the lowest price and store it on your own, keeping the cow will be profitable. If bought in small batches throughout the year, the feed will be more expensive.
How to calculate food costs
It will not be superfluous to make a preliminary calculation of the cost of feed that the cow will need. Cattle feed on grass and hay, grain and processing waste, root crops, vegetables and silage, pulp. The most expensive product from this list is grain, which the animal will need at least 1 ton (10-15 thousand rubles).
You need a lot of hay - 4-5 tons (5-6 thousand rubles), 1-2 tons of potatoes and root crops (fodder crops are inexpensive - 6 thousand rubles). You can grow vegetables and root crops yourself, manually mow hay, this will reduce the cost of nutrition. If you buy, of course, it will increase. If there is no cheap feed, you can, of course, feed it with compound feed, but it is expensive and not suitable for everyone.
The cost of feed largely depends on whether it is worth keeping cows or not. If it is possible to purchase relatively cheaply and immediately in large volumes, then it is profitable.
4 thousand for pulp and 10 thousand for grain. Total - 20 thousand rubles per year. In addition, you will have to spend money on a shepherd (about 700 rubles a month) and vaccinations (500 rubles annually). The cow is grazed only when it is warm: usually from late spring to early autumn.
What additional expenses can there be?
If the cow grazes in the herd, you will have to pay the shepherd. You also need to take into account the cost of lighting the barn, gasoline for transporting feed and products, veterinarian services, vaccinations, drugs for the preventive treatment of animals and the barn. If you plan to breed cows, you will also need to spend money on insemination.
Sale of calves
Every dairy cow has a calf that can be fed or sold at an early age. The price of young animals depends on age, sex (heifers are more expensive) and breed. The highest income comes from pedigree animals. You can sell manure, fresh or rotted. Hides, offal, hooves and horns left after slaughter.
Profit from the sale of milk
Dairy cows can produce 3.5-6 thousand liters. in year. It can be profitable to start a cow and sell milk if you sell it directly to the end consumer at prices that exceed store prices. If you donate milk to a dairy, the profit will decrease significantly.
Milk can be used to make cottage cheese, sour cream, soft and hard cheese, which are more expensive. It takes time and effort to make products, but this way you can expand the assortment and sell your products faster.
Benefit from a large herd
One family can keep 2-3 cows, doing on their own for caring for them, preparing feed and other things. In the practice of animal husbandry, it has been established that 10-15 heads can be kept on the farm, but to take care of the animals, it will be necessary to hire additional personnel, look for where to graze the livestock, and take care of feed for it.
Ways to increase profits
The profitability of keeping cows depends on the genetic potential of the animals, nutritional value of the diet, housing conditions and the average cost of feed and products.
It is unlikely that it will be possible to influence the price of feed, milk and meat, but the livestock breeder is quite capable of organizing the proper maintenance and feeding, acquiring high-yielding or good beef cows.
The cost of the daily ration ultimately affects the cost of milk. If formulated correctly, even with expensive products, such nutrition will pay off in increased productivity. It has been experimentally established that with the effective use of feed, an increase in milk yield occurs.
The quality of milk also depends on the nutritional value of the feed. The components of the products affect the fat content, the content of proteins, vitamins, and mineral elements. Changes in taste and other characteristics. The correct ratio of all components can only be achieved with balanced feeding.
Nutrition also affects the health of animals. Well-nourished cows rarely get sick, do not remain barren, bring strong calves, and have fewer postpartum problems. Due to irregularities in feeding, animals are often culled due to mastitis, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases.
Whether it will be possible to make a profit on a home farm also depends on whether preventive measures and treatment of diseases are carried out. Preventive treatments, vaccinations and veterinary examinations, although they cost money, help to preserve the health of the livestock and its safety.
Keeping a cow or several is beneficial for those who live in the countryside permanently, have the opportunity to buy a thoroughbred animal or at least a cross, have access to cheap feed or procure themselves, can graze animals on pasture and sell milk or meat at a good price. If any of these conditions are not met, you should not count on a large profit. But, in general, any cow can provide the owner's family with homemade milk and meat, which will cost less than purchased ones, and the quality, of course, will be much higher.