A well-designed farm structure should be able to:
- Reduce the cost of the materials or utilise locally available materials.
- Provide safety and comfort to the animals.
- Provide a safe and pleasant environment to the attendant.
- Lead to higher productivity and profitability
Selecting a site for construction of a dairy unit:
- The unit should be as near as possible to the source of feed/fodder to reduce labour costs of carrying the cut fodder to the cows and carrying manure back to the farm.
- Proximity to the homestead in relation to the biogas plant is also an important consideration.
- Easy access to the farm.
- Use of local materials for construction of the unit would reduce cost.
- Carry out regular maintenance of the zero-grazing unit while in use.
- Safety from thieves and malicious neighbours or even farm workers.
- Good manure handling design to ensure that it is properly disposed of without being an odour nuisance to the farm and neighbourhood.
- Good ventilation is good for a healthy respiratory system and adds to the comfort, which is crucial for maximal milk production.
- Protection from rain, strong wind and hot sunshine. Where winds are strong consider utilising wind breakers like trees and buildings.
- Different animals need to be isolated from each other to avoid injuries resulting from fights and mounting to control breeding and avoid spread of diseases.
- Cow comfort is an important part of maintaining a healthy herd. Cows should be housed in well ventilated and clean cubicles. Cow comfort is very important to milk quality, and a priority for dairy farmers and veterinarians.
- Provide music during milking time to reduce stress.