Cows are the last, the most expensive, but the most profitable kind of animals that you can keep. Analogically to previous, a cow appears on your farm as soon as you buy it. They are very picky, when it goes for the food and living conditions, so this husbandry is the most absorbing one.
The first thing that you should do is provide straw. You will of course need to first harvest some field and then you will need a tipper (Euroboss 330T for 27 000$). Remember about switching on the straw swath mode in the harvester [,]. After collecting the grass, transport it to the place where you keep your cows and unload it to the troughs (in the wooden building). By doing so, you will increase the productivity from 5% to 14%. However, a more important thing is that the cows will start to produce manure, which you can later use to fertilize fields.
Cows also provide slurry, which can loaded onto a slurry tank. The production starts automatically - you don't need to provide anything for the cows first.
Another important task is starting the feeding process. Cows can be fed in three ways - using only grass or silage, grass and silage and a special mixture (straw, hay and silage). For the start focus on providing enough grass, as it is the easiest thing to do. At this stage of the game, you should already have a mower and a good trailer. To feed the cows, you just need to mow the meadows nearby, where there's plenty of grass. You will find the trough on the other side of the cowshed. Later, it will be good to buy field no. 40 (Bjornholm, cost: 78 300$). This will provide plenty of grass, close to the place where you keep cows.
A lot of grass is necessary when you want to increase the productivity from 44% (feeding only with grass) to 80%. You will need at least 30 000l of grass, so you should really consider buying a new field, as well as a new trailer.
After mowing enough grass (you can always mow some more, if you want to), go to the special silo, which is located near the cowshed. The silo has to be filled to at least 10% of its capacity. Then, drive around the chaff with the tractor for a while. After you do that, the option of covering the silo will appear and the grass will start to ferment. When the process ends, the silage is ready.
Your next task will be to feed the cows with the silage that you just made. You will need a tractor with a front loader (use universal bucket). Just lower the bucket and load the silage. Next, lift the bucket and rotate it so that you won't drop the load. Then, transport the silage into the trough. Making a few such trips shouldn't take you a lot of time. The silage will suffice for a long time. Check the Animals tab from time to time, to control the amount of food.
To increase the milk production to the maximum level, you will need more equipment and more effort. First of all, you have to be able to make bales. You will learn how to do that in the chapter about grass, hay and straw. You need bales of hay, as well as of straw. Transport them close to the cowshed (you can get hay bales from field no. 40, which you should buy later in the game). The next resource that you will need is the silage. You will also need a mixer wagon (Profile 1880, cost: 39 000$). Transport it to the cowshed.
The last element is preparing the fodder in the mixer wagon. Use a front loader to load the bales onto the wagon (one bale of hay and one bale of straw) and then, put in 2 to 4 buckets of silage. The proportion should be as follows: 25% - 50% of hay and silage, no more than 40% of straw. You can check the numbers by getting into the tractor with the mixture wagon. When you already have the fodder, fill the trough with it - you don't have to worry about grass or silage anymore, because cows will eat only the mixture. The productivity will increase to 100%.
Milk is sold automatically at the end of each day. The profit depends on the number of cows that you have and their productivity. Moreover, you can use the manure and the slurry produced by the cattle (you only need the right machines).
Cow husbandry is the most time-consuming and absorbing business. It allows you to earn a lot of money, but it requires a large starting capital. Buying all the necessary tools, cows and keeping maximum productivity is possible only when having the proper financial support. However, you can always run the husbandry in the minimal or the optimal version. The profits will be smaller, but you will save some time and some money that you would need for the equipment - the business will require a lot of attention only at the beginning.
- being able to choose the level of development of your husbandry;
- possibility to earn a lot of money;
- milk is sold automatically.
- high costs of starting the business;
- very absorbing, at least at the beginning;
- requires constant attention.
Different versions of cow husbandry
In the minimal version, you can buy 10 cows, which will cost you 25 000$. Additionally, you will need a mower and a trailer (you should already have that; the cost of such equipment is 40 500$). You will use the trailer to fill up the troughs with grass and later for providing straw. After spending 65 500$, you will be able to keep the productivity on the level of 44%. The needs of a small cattle are not high: about 1500l of grass and the same amount of straw shouldn't be a problem - you don't need to buy a new field at this stage of production.
Number of cows: 10
Total cost: 65 000$
Profit: 2420$ for a day.
You don't have to invest a lot of money and if you already have a mower and a trailer, you only need to buy cows (you can always buy more, if you want). Such business will provide small, but noticeable profit.
In the optimal version, you should have at least 3 cows (they will cost you 75 000$, which is a large expenditure). Besides the mower and the trailer (it is good to buy some more efficient equipment, but it is not necessary), you should also consider buying an additional piece of land, as you will need a lot of grass (no. 40 on the Bjornholm map costs 78 300$). You must have a tractor with a front loader (the cheapest set costs 71 000$). To increase the productivity at this stage, beside the grass, you have to also provide silage. As you can see, the amount of required grass is quite large (at least 30 000l), so mowing nearby meadows won't suffice. You can do that still, if you want, but a better idea is to think about a new field and better machines. The productivity that you will obtain when providing two types of food will be 80%, which is worth the effort. You will use 3300 l of silage per day, so one fermentation will suffice for a long time.
Number of cows: 30
Costs: 264 800$ (with a new field, a tractor and a loader, which you should also already have at this stage)
Profit: 13 200$ per day
The biggest cost here will be purchasing a new field and a tractor with a loader, unless you already have that. However, this investment will pay off, as high productivity allows you to earn a lot of money. Later, think about a new mower (52 000$) and a trailer (59 000$), which were not included in the numbers given above. With better equipment, you can increase the number of cows to 50 and the profit will rise accordingly - you will be earning about 22 000$ per day. There will be no problem in maintaining high productivity with such machines.
The "max" version is at least 50 cows, which will give milk at the highest available level of productivity. Buying a new field, a mower and a trailer is a must. You will also need a baler (88 000$) and a mixer wagon (39 000$). A great idea is to buy Autostack FS 63-72, which will allow you to transport a lot of bales at a time - it costs 45 000$. High investments also means high profits, as the mixture will give you the highest productivity.
Number of cows: 50
Costs: about 450 000$
Profit: 27 500$
You can earn really a lot of money with this option. You have to put some effort into the business, but as you can see, it's very viable. The profits will rise with every new cow. Having 70 -75 of them seems to be a good number, because of the necessity to prepare the fodder more often. You can earn even 40 000$ a day. It is good to take good care of your cattle.