Description for non-professionals
Small dairy farmers in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, rely strongly on buying feed for their cows. This makes the financial performance of their farm dependent on fluctuating input prices. The thesis investigates the feasibility of on-farm production of feed and other technological options as a way to become less dependent on external inputs.
Taking into consideration the population growth, farmers are challenged to produce enough to feed the population. To increase productivity, normally small dairy farmers intensify their production systems by increasing livestock density and inputs, but inadequate management results in economic, technical, and environmental inefficiencies. This work aims to support decision making by farmers and technicians, and to provide information that can aid local governments to establish policies that are effective at improving farmers’ livelihoods. To achieve this, and intensive field work was implemented in Marcos Castellanos, Michoacán, Mexico, to gather the information needed to analyze the dairy farming systems of the region. The exploration analysis showed that simple re-arrangement of existing farm resources may considerably improve current dairy farm performance across family-based on semi-specialized farm types. To actually implement these changes requires breaking away from current mainstream thinking about farming methods and considerable farming skills.