Israeli Dairy School dairy herd
management training center

How to Start a Dairy Farm

Cost to build a modern dairy farm

How do I start a dairy farm? How much does it cost to build a modern dairy farm 

If you’re thinking about starting a dairy farm, the process ahead may be daunting. Your question is how to start a dairy farm? Planning out the significant costs and requirements ahead of time is essential to help you budget and avoid any unpleasant surprises. The cost of building a modern dairy farm will depend on many factors: how large the farm will be, where it’s located, whether you are buying or renting land and equipment, and so on. This article is meant to provide you with some general parameters to understand the major costs involved with starting a dairy farm. As you move forward with planning, you should price out costs locally to create a more detailed and accurate budget.


One of the biggest start-up costs for any dairy farm will be the land. A helpful general rule of thumb is to plan on having one to two acres per cow. If you are going to grow your own feed, you’ll need to be at the higher end of this range. The cost of land is going to vary widely depending on location, but it might be anywhere from $1000-$4000 per acre. To minimize startup costs, you might lease the land instead of buying it.


Of course, to start a dairy farm, you will need the cows themselves. Cows typically cost between $1200 and $1600 per individual. So if, for example, you wanted to start a dairy farm with 100 cows, you would spend between $120,000 and $160,000 on livestock.

Calves in Israel

Barns and Milking

You will need at least one barn and milking parlor. Your main barn is likely to cost between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on the size and the equipment you include. You’ll also need to plan on approximately $15,000-$30,000 for fencing. You may also need additional barns, such as a hay barn and calf barn. These will probably cost about another $20,000 each, depending on the size.


No dairy farm is complete without the right farming equipment. Equipment you might need includes a tractor, ATV, mower, feeding equipment, and fan and sprinkler systems. Altogether, this equipment might run between $100,000 and $150,000. You may be able to save upfront costs by renting some of this equipment, although renting can cost you more in the long term.

Other Costs to Start a Dairy Farm

The above sections outline your largest expenses, but they by no means include everything. When budgeting your startup costs, make sure to also budget for feed, veterinarian care, labor, milk storage and distribution, insurance, legal expenses, and marketing.

Which Milking Parlor is Best for Your Dairy Farm? >>Read More

Guidance for Dairy Farm Development

Starting a new dairy farm is a massive endeavor. Expert guidance can help you to plan efficiently and set yourself up for success. If you are considering consulting, the Israeli Dairy Farm offers expert planning in dairy farm development.

Contact us on WhatsApp

Dairy Herd Nutrition Management E Book

Dairy Herd Nutrition Management By Dr Ofer Kroll, Senior Israeli Dairy Nutritionist You can buy it now.
Get Now

The Israeli Dairy School Brochure in your language