How Much A Good Dairy Cow Should Cost? Most people ask this question for two main reasons; To either make a decision of how to price their cows or have a price in mind when buying so they are not scammed. I think it’s only fair to note at this point if you are expecting exact figures, this is not the post, we do not want to disappoint you. If you however want to understand pricing and how to select what to buy read to the end.
How Much A Good Dairy Cow Should Cost?
First there are different pricing strategies available but we will only focus on three that are mostly used in the dairy farming.

Cost-plus pricing;

This is the most common and rightfully so as different farms have different management costs.
Take for example, our farms silage is about 3-4 sh being that we grow it ourselves and have found ways to reduce costs. For those buying a lot of the times it’s about 7-8sh. That means on fodder alone there are farms that have a production cost that is almost two times ours. Say farm two the owner takes care of his own herd while in ours we have farm hands we are paying salaries, our costs also differ in this sense.
This is the importance of records where you need to indicate every single expense both fixed and variable costs eg do you pay rent, salaries, water bills etc which are the same every month? Then there are the fodder costs, vet bills, price of semen, Ai Inseminator etc basically every single coin you spend on your farm.
The fixed costs you can divide by the herd size but variable costs have to be per cow. Once you get the cost of production you can add a mark up which will in turn be your profit. In this example; say our cost is at 50k and yours at 100k, if we price our cow at 100k and you copy us then negotiate to 90k, have you made a profit or a loss?

Competitive Pricing;

In this you set your price based off what your competitor charges.
This confuses a lot of people because it doesn’t mean copy anyone selling cows. You have to identify who your direct competitor is. It also needs to be more than he sells more cows than me so he is my competitor. Are you in a similar market? It has to be down right to the grouping. If one is selling heifers and another in-calf heifers you’re not competitors per se. Also this is where the line gets blur, if your costs of production are very different, even if you’re both selling cows, would you price the same really!?

Value based pricing;

This is where you price based off the customers belief of what it is worth.
In a nutshell anytime you see an AD of “pedigree, expected to give 40+ Liters, big udder” etc some of this words are placed to generate a reaction as you have been made to believe that they actually mean something and you are getting a good cow. This is how people fall for words then you get home with your new purchase and it’s giving 5Liters.
We had to include this here because for a seller you need to know it’s an option, you’re in business anyway and looking to make a profit but at the same time as a buyer you need to be careful and do proper due diligence.
Now that the sellers know their options and why answering the question of how much should this be can be difficult allow us to address those buying.
It is impossible to know a good cow just based off the price. You need to interrogate records and honestly also the one selling. We have seen cases where some people get cows to rehabilitate pump them on dairy meal for a month they produce well but when you buy you can’t keep up the feeding. Just because one in-calf is being sold at 70k and another at 150k it doesn’t mean you’re being scammed.
All this to say pricing is personal, it doesn’t really determine the quality of the cow or expectations to have with it. You can have an expensive cow and be disappointed. You can sell at “market rate” or like others and still be at a loss.

Factors that might affect cost of a good dairy cow

  • Breed: Some breeds of dairy cows are more expensive than others. For example, the Holstein-Friesian breed is one of the most popular dairy breeds in the world, and as a result, they tend to be more expensive than other breeds.
  • Age: Younger cows are generally more expensive than older cows. This is because younger cows have a longer productive lifespan.
  • Production potential: The production potential of a cow is determined by its genetics and breeding. A cow with a high production potential will be more expensive than a cow with a lower production potential.
  • Health: A healthy cow will be more expensive than an unhealthy cow. This is because a healthy cow is more likely to produce milk and be productive.
  • Temperament: A good dairy cow should have a calm temperament. This will make it easier to handle and milk.
  • Udder: The udder is the part of the cow that produces milk. A good udder should be large and well-shaped. The teats should be evenly spaced and pointing downwards.
  • Legs and feet: The legs and feet of a cow should be strong and healthy. This will help the cow to walk and graze comfortably.
  • Body condition: A good cow should have a good body condition. This means that it should be neither too fat nor too thin.
  • Production history: If you are buying a cow that has already been producing milk, you should ask to see its production history. This will give you an idea of how much milk the cow is likely to produce in the future.
  • Current market conditions: The cost of a good dairy cow can also be affected by the current market conditions. If the demand for cows is high, the prices will be higher. Conversely, if the demand for cows is low, the prices will be lower.
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By considering all of these factors, you can make sure that you are buying a good cow that will be a valuable addition to your dairy farm.

Tips for buying a good dairy cow in Kenya:

  • Do your research. Before you buy a cow, it is important to do your research and learn about the different breeds, ages, and production potentials. This will help you make an informed decision about which cow is right for you.
  • Talk to other farmers. Talk to other farmers who have experience with dairy farming. They can give you valuable advice on what to look for when buying a cow.
  • Visit a livestock market. Livestock markets are a great place to find good cows. You can see the cows in person and talk to the sellers.
  • Temperament: A good dairy cow should have a calm temperament. This will make it easier to handle and milk.
  • Udder: The udder is the part of the cow that produces milk. A good udder should be large and well-shaped. The teats should be evenly spaced and pointing downwards.
  • Legs and feet: The legs and feet of a cow should be strong and healthy. This will help the cow to walk and graze comfortably.
  • Body condition: A good cow should have a good body condition. This means that it should be neither too fat nor too thin.
  • Production history: If you are buying a cow that has already been producing milk, you should ask to see its production history. This will give you an idea of how much milk the cow is likely to produce in the future.
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It is also important to consider the following factors when buying a cow in Kenya:

  • The availability of good quality feed and water.
  • The availability of a suitable housing.
  • The availability of veterinary care.
  • The cost of maintaining the cow.

By considering all of these factors, you can make sure that you are buying a good cow that will be a valuable addition to your dairy farm.

Here are some additional tips for buying a good dairy cow in Kenya:

  • Ask the seller about the cow’s health history. A good seller will be able to provide you with information about the cow’s vaccinations, deworming, and any other health issues that the cow has had.
  • Ask the seller about the cow’s production history. This will give you an idea of how much milk the cow has produced in the past.
  • Inspect the cow’s body for any signs of illness or injury. Look for signs of lameness, mastitis, or other health problems.
  • Test the cow’s milk for quality. The milk should be clean, white, and free of any lumps or discoloration.

Credit: Dairy Networks

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