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Effect of organic grain supplementation on economic, behavior, and pest management strategies of organic dairy cows.

This is a final project report submitted to The Ceres Trust.

Investigator: Bradley Heins, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
West Central Research and Outreach Center
46352 State Hwy 329
Morris, MN 56267
32-589-1711
[email protected]

Collaborators:

Marcia Endres, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Animal Science, St. Paul, MN
Roger Moon, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Entomology, St. Paul, MN
James Paulson, M.S., University of Minnesota Extension, Willmar, MN

Project Period: 2012-2013

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Problem addressed

The number of organic dairies has been steadily growing during the past decade in the United States and the Midwest. However, current research and extension programs do not adequately support the needs of the increasing number of organic dairies, and scientific research on feeding organic dairy cattle is lacking. Science-based information is needed to better inform farmers on how to supplement dairy cows during the grazing season, especially during high grain prices. Some dairy producers are moving towards 100% pasture because of increased feed costs, their personal philosophy to use less grain, or they may have a specific market demand for grassfed products.

Project Objective

The objectives of the study were to develop practical strategies for organic dairy producers to enhance the profitability of their farm by evaluating organic grain supplementation levels, and its effect on economics, behavior, and pest management of organic dairy cows. We will deliver organic best management practices for organic grain supplementation to organic dairy cows through learning opportunities via workshops, field days, conferences, and scholarly
articles.

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