Track 1-02

Description

Traditionally, most dairy farms in the south-eastern United States confine cows to barns or on pasture lots year-round and feed stored forages and concentrated feeds (Fontaneli et al. 2005). Often, much of the feed is purchased, however, the cost of purchased feed and fuel has risen rapidly in the last 5 years (NASS 2009). In addition, a significant amount of capital is tied up in buildings, machinery and manure management systems on the farms. For these reasons, many dairy farmers have shown an interest in or started transitioning to pasture-based dairy systems (Ricks and Hardee 2012). The management practices and production results of pasture-based dairy farms in the south-east appear to vary widely (Macoon et al. 2011), but have not been described.

The objective of this study was to document pasture and crop management, manure management and milk production on pasture-based dairy farms in Florida and Georgia.

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Survey of Pasture Species and Management, Manure Management, Milk Production and Reproduction on Pasture-Based Dairy Farms in Florida and Georgia, USA

Traditionally, most dairy farms in the south-eastern United States confine cows to barns or on pasture lots year-round and feed stored forages and concentrated feeds (Fontaneli et al. 2005). Often, much of the feed is purchased, however, the cost of purchased feed and fuel has risen rapidly in the last 5 years (NASS 2009). In addition, a significant amount of capital is tied up in buildings, machinery and manure management systems on the farms. For these reasons, many dairy farmers have shown an interest in or started transitioning to pasture-based dairy systems (Ricks and Hardee 2012). The management practices and production results of pasture-based dairy farms in the south-east appear to vary widely (Macoon et al. 2011), but have not been described.

The objective of this study was to document pasture and crop management, manure management and milk production on pasture-based dairy farms in Florida and Georgia.