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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Research Project #438987

Research Project: Improving Sustainability of Dairy and Forage Production Systems for the Upper Midwest

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Project Number: 5090-21630-001-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 1, 2022
End Date: Feb 25, 2024

Objective 1: Develop land and manure management practices to improve crop and forage productivity, quality, and nutrient use efficiency. Objective 2: Reduce nutrient losses from replacement dairy heifer production through management strategies that target nutrient use efficiency and growth performance. Objective 3: Develop or improve annual and/or perennial forage production systems that optimize forage production for dairy farms while enhancing soil health. Objective 4: Incorporate cropping systems and agronomic management system effects on soil health into whole-farm dairy simulation models.

Pressures facing modern dairy operations, including high input costs, and uncertain milk and commodity prices have led to renewed interest in less intensive production practices. Improvements in the production efficiencies in dairy production can impact sustainability of dairy operations. The proposed research will focus on impacts of utilization of perennial forages, as well as novel annual species for providing alternative uses in modern dairy operations. The approach is collaborative, including contributions from the University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (UW-MARS), UW-Madison, UW-Extension, USDA-NRCS, and the University of Florida, among others. The approach also consists of experimental field work. Field work is based on continued use and development of field facilities at UW-MARS. This work impacts dairy and forage production systems in the upper Midwest and elsewhere. Products and outcomes consist of best management practices for grazing and forage management; fundamental knowledge about soil health and function, and forage productivity; and environmental impacts of grazing production. Stakeholders include dairy or beef cattle producers, extension agents, as well as other public agencies.