Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2009
Publication Date: 2/9/2009
Citation: Powell, J.M., Gourley, C.J. 2009. Making the Most Out of Your Nutrients in Feed, Milk and Manure. Grass Clippings, 4(1): 1-6. 2009. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) pass through a continuous cycle on dairy farms. Cows are fed to produce milk; manure is applied to cropland and pastures; manure nutrients are re-incorporated into feed; and so on. This article discusses differences between nutrient cycling on confinement and grazing dairy farms with a focus on feed and manure management. In general, dairy cows on confinement farms are fed conserved forages, protein and mineral supplements and manure is collected, stored and applied mechanically to cropland. Grazing-based dairy farms use intensive rotational grazing to provide fresh forage, generally use less supplements, and most manure is deposited directly onto pasture. Dairy research and extension efforts have focused on evaluations of how feed decisions impact feed conversion into milk and the economic and environmental performance of confinement dairy farms. Interesting research and practical questions are: How well would relationships between feed-milk-manure determined on confinement dairy farms hold true on grazing-based dairy farms? Could this information be used in a similar manner to refine diets, enhance profits and the environmental performance of grazing-based dairy farms?