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Dairy Farming FAQ Information For Beginners

Dairy Farming FAQ Information For Beginners

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions about Dairy:

The following information is about Dairy Farming FAQ.

Dairy farming FAQ # 1: How many acres does someone need for a cow?

The minimum space required by a cow in a closed area like a shed is 40 sq ft whereas in an open area, the space required by a single cow is 80 sq ft. Overall, in a small cattle farm of 20 animals, the minimum land area required is around 3000 sq ft and if the number of animals is around 100 then the farm area should be increased to 15000 sq ft. Dairy buffaloes need a little more space when compared to the cows i.e. a single buffalo may need 40-45 sq ft of area.

Dairy farming FAQ # 2: How much can one sell a dairy cow for?

The sale price of a cow depends on the type of breed the cow belongs to. If it’s an indigenous cow then the average price per cow is Rs 25,000, but if the breed is a hybrid variety then the average price per cow could be around Rs 50,000.

Dairy farming FAQ # 3: How much does it cost to buy a calf?

The cost price of calves is also dependant on the type of breed one selects to buy. The average cost of a single calf in India is Rs 15,000.

Dairy farming FAQ # 4: Which breeds of cows give more milk in India? 

The breeds of cow famous as milk breeds in India are:

  • Sahiwal
  • Red sindhi
  • Gir
  • Tharparkar

For more information on Indian milk breeds and their properties one can read the details at Cattle Farming Breeds.

Gir Cow.
Gir Cow.

Dairy farming FAQ # 5: How many litres of milk does jersey cow produce?

It is estimated that the average milk produced by a Jersey cow each day is around 30-35 liters. The average milk produced by the Jersey cow in a year is around 5000-8000 kg.

Dairy farming FAQ # 6: How much milk a cow can produce?

The amount of milk produced in a day by a cow depends on the breed of the cow. The capacity of production is different for all breeds. But for all milk cattle the amount of milk produced in a day may range around 0.2 to 60 litres. It is expected that a hybrid cow produces more milk than indigenous cows.

Dairy farming FAQ # 7: How many cows does a bull service or what is the ratio of cows to bulls?

The general rule is to put 25 to 30 cows per bull in a pasture, however, this may be increased to 50 cows per bull without any negative impact on breeding, but a thorough breeding soundness test must be done before such step.

Dairy farming FAQ # 8: How many calves can a cow have in a year?

It is considered that for a dairy cow to continue producing milk, the minimum number of calves it should have in a year is one. Generally a dairy cow gives birth to a calf every 12 or 14 months. Considering the present life span of a dairy cow or cattle to be 6-8 years, it can be estimated that the cattle would give birth to 4-6 calves during their lifetime.

Dairy farming FAQ # 9: How long can a cow survive?

Domestic cows are expected to live for 20-26 years on an average, but with commercial dairy farming practices the natural average life span of a cow has reduced drastically and it is around 6-8 years only.

Dairy farming FAQ # 10: How long can you milk a cow?

Once a cow delivers a calf, it can produce milk for 10-12 months. The production of milk increases after every calving. The cow can produce milk as long as they live.

Dairy farming FAQ # 11: How many hours of sleep do cows get?

The cow is estimated to sleep for 4 hours approximately. Sometimes a cow can doze off while standing, but for the rest they generally lie down in a leaning posture.

Dairy farming FAQ # 12: How much does it cost to feed a dairy cow for a year?

The cost of the feed for a dairy cow depends on the amount of milk that is expected to be produced. The average cost of feed per day to produce 20 liters of milk for a cow weighing 500 kg is estimated to range in between Rs 250 to Rs 500. The value of each item of the feed may vary depending on the location of the farm.

Dairy farming FAQ # 13: How long does it take to raise a dairy cow?

Dairy Cows.
Dairy Cows.

After the birth of a calf, it roughly takes around 2 years to raise the calf such that it becomes a mature dairy cow depending on what gender it belongs.

Dairy farming FAQ # 14: How much feed does a dairy cow eat in a day?

The feed given to a cow depends on the fact whether it is lactating or normal. In general a dairy cow eats between 25 to 50 kg of feed each day. Again, this depends largely on the weight and breed of the cow. The estimation of feed can be made from a simple formula which tells that; ‘the feed of the cow per day is equal to one-tenth of its weight’.

Dairy farming FAQ # 15: What do you feed a dairy cow?

The feed for cow are generally green grass, dry fodder, bran, chunnis, oil cakes, hay, silage, leaves, maize, cane tops, etc. There could be a supplementary feed for better nutrition like the crop residues and concentrate mix.

Dairy farming FAQ # 16: How much does a dairy cow drink in a day?

A cow that is lactating needs 68-155 litres of water each day. During high heat stress the need for water may double. The intake of water is also estimated by the weight of the cow. Dry cows and calves require less water when compared to milking cows and it is around 40 l/day and 9 l/day respectively.

Dairy farming FAQ # 17: How much grain can a calf eat in a day?

Initially for the first three days after birth a calf needs 2 to 2.5 litres of colostrums (milk produced by the cow after calving). Ground grains, protein feeds, minerals, vitamins and antibiotics together (about 50-100 g per day) make a calf starter feed and is slowly inculcated into the diet after 2 weeks of birth. After 4 months the calf can be fed with the grain mixture of about 750-1000 g a day. The calf should be given milk until about 12 weeks after birth.

Dairy Feed Management.
Dairy Feed Management.

Dairy farming FAQ # 18: At what age do cows bear calves?

Age of calving depends on the type of breed one selects. For Indian indigenous breeds the age of first calving is 3 years, but for hybrid dairy cows the minimum age of first calving is 2 years. Dairy buffaloes have a prolonged age for first calving which is estimated to be around 3½ years

Dairy farming FAQ # 19: Do cows have a breeding season?

Yes, for most of the Indian dairy breeds the best season for breeding is September to February and the calving season is from July to November.

Dairy farming FAQ # 20: What is the gestation period of a cow?

The gestation period of a cow is estimated to be approximately nine months. This period varies slightly for different dairy animals; indigenous breeds and exotic breeds have a gestation period of about 280-290 days, buffaloes have a higher gestation period of about 305-318 days.

Dairy farming FAQ # 21: Can cows produce milk without having a baby?

‘Absolutely NO’, the cows produce milk only after having their first calf. There are certain ways to artificially induce lactation in the cows, but these methods are illegal and harmful for the animal health.

Dairy farming FAQ # 22: What happens to cows when they are not milked?

While monitoring dairy animals, care should be taken to milk the animals regularly. If the milking animals are not milked for long periods say more than 2 days, then they become ill and develop mastitis, an inflammation and infection in the udder. This period of not milking is different from the dry periods in dairy animals.

Dairy farming FAQ # 23: What are different dairy cattle breeds in India?

The total dairy animals are categorized as indigenous breeds, exotic breeds and buffalo breeds. Indigenous exclusive dairy breeds are Gir, Red Sindhi and Sahiwal. Exotic dairy cattle breeds are jersey, Holstein Friesian, brown swiss, red dane, Ayrshire, guemsey. Buffalo breeds are Murrah, surti, jaffrabadi, bhadawari, niliravi, mehsana, nagpuri and toda.

Dairy farming FAQ # 24: What is the weight of a cow?

The weight of the cows varies for different breeds. Also the weight of the cow changes during time of calving. The average weight of indigenous dairy cows is 250 kg at the age of first calving. Similarly, the weight of exotic breeds is 180-275 kg during first calving age and for buffaloes the weight is 300-340 kg when they are ready for calving.

Dairy farming FAQ # 25: What is an exotic breed of cow?

Some extraordinary dairy breeds from other countries were introduced into India such that they could be crossed with native Indian breeds to produce increased levels of milk. These foreign breeds are termed as exotic breeds. For e.g. Jersey, Holstein Friesian, brown swiss, Ayrshire, Guernsey etc.

Dairy farming FAQ # 26: Which breed of cattle produces A2 milk?

Gir cow in India is considered to produce milk with high levels of A2 beta casein. Other dairy cattle which contain this protein in their milk are Guernsey and Jersey.

Dairy farming FAQ # 27: What are the major diseases that cattle are vaccinated for?

The most commonly occurring cattle diseases are:

  • Bovine respiratory disease
  • Blackleg or Clostridial disease
  • Bovine viral diarrhoea
  • Haemophilus somnus
  • Para influenza type 3
  • IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis)
  • Pasteurella haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida
  • Brucellosis
  • Vibriosis
  • Lepto
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Rota and corona virus
  • coli
  • Pinkeye

Dairy farming FAQ # 28: What diseases can one get from cattle?

There are certain zoonotic diseases which get transferred to humans from cattle. They can be listed as:

  • Anthrax
  • Brucellosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Dermatophilosis
  • coli
  • Giardiasis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Q fever
  • Rabies
  • Pseudo cowpox
  • Ringworms
  • Tuberculosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Vesicular stomatitis

Dairy farming FAQ # 29: What diseases can dairy cow or cattle get?

There are several categories into which the diseases are categorized and there is a possibility that the cows in the farm may get affected by these.

  • Respiratory – blue tongue, BVD, calf pneumonia etc.
  • Reproductive – brucellosis, cystic ovaries, Vibriosis etc.
  • Metabolic – acetonameia, fatty liver etc.
  • Neurological – rabies, thrombosis etc.
  • Udder – mastitis, ulcerative mammillitis etc.
  • Zoonoses –anthrax, ringworm, salmonella etc.
  • Eye, skin and feet – foot rot, wooden tongue, calf diphtheria etc.

Dairy farming FAQ # 30: What is acetonameia or ketosis in dairy cow?

It is a metabolic disease of lactating cows commonly noticed during 10 to 60 days after calving. The most important period is the first three weeks after calving and there is a possibility of low blood sugar levels in the cow’s blood, which may release ketone bodies. The sweet smell in the breath, milk and urine of the affected cow is due to ketone bodies or acetone. The symptoms of the disease are:

  • Loss of weight
  • Dullness
  • Constipation
  • Lowered milk production
  • Depression
  • Mucus covered faeces

Dairy farming FAQ # 31: What is milk fever in a cow and what are its symptoms?

Milk fever occurs in high producing cows generally on the 3rd to the 6th lactation stage. This condition develops due to high milk production and the demand for calcium. Extreme low calcium levels in the blood cannot release acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, which causes muscle weakness in the cows. The symptoms of the fever are:

  • Unable to stand
  • Restless and bellowing
  • Can develop depression, anorexia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive to stimuli

Dairy farming FAQ # 32: What is metritis in cows?

Inflammation in the uterus due to bacterial infection after calving is called metritis. The symptoms of the infection are fever, foul vulvar discharge, low feed intake, etc. This generally occurs during the first 10 days of calving. This can be prevented by having a clean environment for the cows during calving.

Dairy farming FAQ # 33: What is mastitis in cows, it causes and symptoms?

Mastitis is characterized by the inflammation of the udder, which results in a change of the udder tissue and its secretion. Fever and change in the quality and quantity of milk produced by the cow indicate the disease. Cows and dairy buffaloes both are susceptible to this disease. Infection of the udder occurs due to certain organisms associated with the cattle.

Dairy farming FAQ # 34: How much does a dairy buffalo cost in India?

Depending on the breed one selects the cost of a dairy buffalo may range from 65K to one lakh rupees. The calf of a buffalo may cost around 3000-15000 for different breeds.

Dairy farming FAQ # 35: How many litres of milk does a buffalo produce in a day?

Each breed of buffalo has its own milk producing capacity. Generally the range of milk produced per day is around 8-16 litres, but a certain breed of buffalo called the Murrah breed is considered to produce around 18 litres of milk each day.

Dairy farming FAQ # 36: What is the lactation period of a buffalo?

A buffalo generally starts calving at the age of 3 years and above. The minimum time period between each calving is estimated to be 400 to 500 days and the lactation period lasts for a minimum of 230 days. Some breeds show even higher lactation periods such as the Murrah.

Dairy farming FAQ # 37: Which milk is better cow milk or buffalo milk?

There are many differences between both the milk, some of which are discussed here:

  • The milk from a cow has less fat percentage, hence it is lighter in consistence, whereas buffalo milk has a higher fat percentage and is considered heavy.
  • Buffalo milk has more calcium and phosphorous content, but less sodium and potassium content when compared to cow’s milk. Buffalo’s milk has higher peroxidase activity, hence can be stored for longer time.
  • Buffalo milk has high cholesterol and protein content than cow’s milk.
  • Cow’s milk is expected to have high water content (90%).

Dairy farming FAQ # 38: What is the sale price of buffalo milk in India and cow milk in India?

The cost of 1 litre of buffalo milk ranges from Rs 45-55 depending on the location and quality. Similarly, the cost of cow milk is Rs 40-50 per litre and this also depends on the quality of milk produced and the breed of the cow. Special quality milk containing the A2 protein is considered to cost even more around Rs 110 per litre.

Dairy farming FAQ # 39: What does NABARD subsidy for dairy farming specify?

To promote and strengthen the dairy farming business in India, NABARD provides subsidies to the dairy farmers and has the following specifications:

  • Promotes the production of quality milk by setting up modern dairy farms
  • Encourages the breeding of good animal stock specially the heifer calf
  • Bring about changes in the structure so that milk can be initially processed at the village level
  • Help upgrade the use of technology when farming on a commercial scale
  • To help generate employment and build the infrastructure for unorganized areas

Dairy farming FAQ # 40: Who is eligible for a NABARD dairy farming subsidy?

NABARD provides subsidy to people and groups of people or associations such as farmers, individuals, NGO’s, dairy cooperative units, milk unions, organized and unorganized groups, etc. The subsidy is available to each person for all the components, but only for a single time. Two people from the same family should possess different farms to avail the subsidy separately and the minimum distance between their farms should be 500 m.

Dairy farming FAQ # 41: How can one get a subsidy for dairy farming at NABARD?

The process of applying for the subsidy is outlined here in detail:

  • Research about what type of dairy business one would undertake like a milk parlor, veterinary services, cold storage for milk and its products etc.
  • Register the name of the firm or business.
  • A detailed project report should be prepared about the business, investment details and its working plan. This should also contain a request for a bank loan.
  • Apply for a bank loan at a bank registered with NABARD.
  • The project should be implemented with the loan, if sanctioned.
  • After the bank disburses the first loan instalment, it would have to apply to the NABARD for the release of subsidy for dairy farming business.
  • Once NABARD releases the subsidy, it is held by the bank under the classification of ‘subsidy reserve fund account’, which has no interest.
  • If the farmer or individual serves the loan satisfactorily, then the subsidy amount in the bank is adjusted accordingly in the last few re-payments.

Dairy farming FAQ # 42: What categories are provided assistance under the NABARD dairy farming subsidy schemes and what are their corresponding percentages?

There are several categories under which assistance is provided to the eligible people or groups, they can be listed as:

Small dairy units

  • Raising crossbreed or exclusive milk producing indigenous cows or buffaloes
  • Unit size should be 2-10 animals with a maximum investment of Rs 5 Lakhs
  • Subsidy given is 25% of the investment with a maximum amount of Rs 1.25 lakhs for 10 animal units and Rs 25000 for a 2 animal unit for the general category of people
  • SC/ST farmers are given 33.33% subsidy i.e. Rs 1.67 lakhs maximum of 10 animals and Rs 33300 for 2 animals

Calf rearing units

  • Rearing heifer breed or any high milk producing indigenous cows
  • Unit size is 5-20 calves with a maximum investment of Rs 4.8 lakhs.
  • For general people the subsidy amount is 25% of investment corresponding to Rs 1.20 lakhs for 20 calves and Rs 30000 for 5 calves
  • SC/ST farmers are given 33.33% subsidy i.e. Rs 1.60 lakhs for 20 calves and Rs 40,000 for 5 calf unit

Transporting facility unit

  • The investment required is Rs 24 lakhs
  • Subsidy for normal people 25% of the total investment i.e. maximum of 6 lakhs
  • SC/ST farmers or individuals get 33.33% subsidy i.e. Rs 8 lakhs

Cold storage units

  • Maximum investment of Rs 30 lakhs
  • The subsidy is 25% of the total investment for general public and 33.33% for SC/ST individuals or farmers

Similarly, the same percentage of subsidy is available for people in other categories of dairy farming business such as veterinary units (Rs 2.4 lakhs for mobile units and Rs 1.8 lakhs for stationary units), dairy milk parlours (Rs 56,000), setting up of milk processing units (Rs 12 lakhs), setting up of milking machines or bulk milk cooling units (Rs 18 lakhs), vermicompost unit (Rs 20,000) etc. The subsidy is granted on the total investment into the business and it is important to note that every business has its own investment structure and plan. The amount of investment may vary depending on the structure, but for a general reference the permissible investment amount is given in the brackets.

Read: Dairy Cow Farming Project Report.

Read: Murrah BuffaloInformation.

Read: Tuna Fish Farming.

Last Updated: August 10, 2018
Author: Jagdish


  1. Hi pleses provide me the name of the loan for buying cows for dairy farm in Odisha also guide me which banks are providing such loans.

  2. How much quantity of green and dry fodder required for 7 milch animals (2 cow and 5 buffalo) for a 1 day/ 1 week/ 1 month.

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