Dairy farming and Record Keeping

Animal husbandry and agriculture have been linked since the beginning of humanity. However, animal husbandry was not practised on a big scale during earlier times but is becoming a large-scale business in the modern day. Dairy farms raise a huge number of costly animals of superior breeds. It is vital to handle dairy farming properly in order to make it a profitable operation, and record keeping is an important part of that. Farmers rely on their memory, which is quickly forgotten, due to a lack of record keeping. As a result, adequate record keeping is required. Only if each animal has an appropriate identifying tag can proper records be kept. As a result, each animal is correctly identified and recorded. Record keeping should be done on a regular basis and should cover all significant events in the life of the animal, such as birth, death, feeding, sickness, heat detection, and parturition. It’s also crucial to have precise facts and statistics when borrowing money, applying for government loans, and paying tax returns. Record keeping may be done in a variety of ways and offers a number of advantages for dairy farmers. It also acts as a comparison tool for two farms, allowing them to assess their strengths and shortcomings. As a result, we will cover all of these topics in this article.

Types of record keeping in dairy farming:

  1. Livestock register- Total number of animals in the herd, their identification number, date of birth, sire number, dam number, date of calving, newborn in the farm, their sex (male/female), date of purchase, date of sale, date of death and causes of death etc. are recorded in this register.
  2. Calving register-In this register reproductive events occurring in the animals present in dairy farm and information about pregnant cows/buffaloes are recorded.In this register sire number, dam number, date of heat detection, date of mating, date of successful insemination, expected date of calving, method of calving i.e. normal/abnormal, calf number, sex (male/female), and date of birth are recorded.
  3. Daily milk production record- Milk production by individual animal as well as milk production by all animals are recorded in this register on the daily basis.
  4. Calf record-All the important information about newborn like identification number, sex(male/female),sire number, dam number,birth weight and weight at different ages are recorded in a register.
  5. Feeding record-Feeding record is recorded in this register which contains information about the amount of concentrate, green fodder,dry fodder and any other feed given to the animals on the daily basis.
  6. Health related record- All the details about the diseased animals like history, clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment and name of veterinarian who treated the animal are recorded in health related record. Information about date of deworming and date of vaccination against different diseases like FMD, Rabies, Anthrax etc are also recorded in this record.
  7. Animal history record- Animal history like animal number, date of birth, sex, breed, dam number, sire number, record of lactation yield, date of birth and causes of death are recorded in this register.

Advantages of record keeping in dairy farm

  • Record keeping helps in better management of herd.
  • By reviewing old records, record keeping is very necessary for evaluation of animals which is useful in selection of animals.
  • Record keeping is very useful for estimating previous records and selecting superior parents.
  • It is useful in progeny testing of animals.
  • Record keeping is helpful in selection of bulls on the basis of average performance of their progeny i.e. selection of bull by evaluating its off springs, on the basis of performance of ancestors i.e. pedigree selection and on the basis of performance of their sibs i.e. full sibs and half sibs.
  • Record keeping help calculating feeding expenditure and it helps preparing strategy for economic feed for getting optimum production.
  • Record keeping is helpful in estimating expenditure for milk production.
  • It help in keeping record of expenditure and profit in dairy farm for better economy.
  • It helps estimating abnormal conditions and diseases in animals which can cause weight loss and decreased milk production . So this can help preventing huge losses.
  • Record keeping is very helpful in diagnosing commonly occurring diseases in the herd. So it helps in timely immunization and deworming in animals.
  • Record keeping helps in deciding accurate purchase and selling price of an animal.
  • For comparing the efficiency of workers and herd with other dairy farms, record keeping is very helpful.
  • Record keeping helps in calculating annual performance of herd in dairy farm.
  • Record keeping is useful in comparing performance of a herd through various years.
  • Record keeping can be used for setting future goals in dairy farming.

It is typical for farmers to start dairy farming but fail to operate it properly, resulting in their failure. Failures are frequently caused by poor record keeping and management. Finally, we advise farmers that keeping daily records for each operation is required to manage dairy farming efficiently and profitably. So by record keeping we can avoid numerous losses and get huge profit in dairy farming. As a result, we can turn dairy farming into a profitable business.

Dr. Palpreet Singh, Dr. Sumeet Singh