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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Making Management Decisions at the Whole Farm Level - Use of a Computer Model (Dafosym)

item Harrison, Joe - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Johnson, Lynn - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Rotz, Clarence

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 19, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Dairy management has become a complex decision process due to expanding herd sizes, environmental pressures, and advancing technologies. Of the pressures facing the dairy industry in Washington, manure management has come to the forefront. Low milk prices and high feed costs have exasperated the problem, because it is difficult to invest capital that you udo not have in manure systems required for compliance with numerous regulations. Due to the interactions among farm operations, a systems approach is needed to help deal with the breadth of considerations in decision making. A whole-farm management tool is available in the form of a dynamic computer model called DAFOSYM (Dairy Forage System Model). The model allows farm management alternatives to be tested to determine long- term economic and environmental consequences. Three dairy farms representing small, medium, and large sized operations in Western Washington were simulated with DAFOSYM. Simulation results showed that nitrogen removed in crops was greatest on the small farm. This farm was grass silage based and utilized a solids-handling method for manure management. On the larger farms, nutrients available from manure were much greater than the crop requirements. Manure handling methods and costs varied greatly among the three farms, however, total cost of manure handling per mature animal was similar. Net return per cow was greatest for the medium and large farms.

Last Modified: 4/20/2015
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