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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cows Aren’t Equal Opportunity Manure Spreaders)

item Powell, J Mark
item Gourley, C

Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2009
Publication Date: 1/25/2009
Citation: Powell, J.M., Gourley, C.J. 2009. Cows Aren’t Equal Opportunity Manure Spreaders. Hoard's Dairyman, January 2009. p. 54.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This article highlights the main differences in feeding strategies, manure management and overall nutrient cycling on grazing- and confinement-based dairy production systems. In grazing-based dairy operations, farmers manage grazed pastures and although they purchase feed, they generally have less control of dairy cow diets. Additionally, manure deposition in grazing-based dairy farms is often uneven, with high nutrient loads in some areas. In confinement-based dairy operations, farmers generally manage mixed animal and cropping operations and have more control on cow diets, as well as the capture, storage, and land application of manure. Irrespective of whether you have a grazing or confinement dairy farm, or a mix of both, there are a number of things that can improve nutrient management and may also save you money: avoid excess feeding of protein and phosphorus by balancing rations to meet recommended nutrient requirements; collection and storage systems which enable you to capture manure nutrients; land application of manure that matches crop and pasture requirements at a time and place when there is low risk of nutrient loss; and maximize manure distribution by animals when they are in the landscape.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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