Develop Science-based Recommendations to Efficiently Manage Forages, Herd Health and Productivity on Organic Dairies in the Southeastern US

Grants and Contracts Details


Objective A of this project is to determine a profitable mixture of grasses to be used on organic dairy production in the southeastern US. Seven different monocultures or mixtures of warm and cool season grasses will be established on certified organic land at the University of Kentucky Research Farm in accordance with standard establishment practices of organic based pastures. Forage yield and forage quality parameters including CP, TDNC, ADF, NDF and mineral content will be measured as well as soil fertility (pH, N and C) and a final cost of production based on forage quality will be determined. Objective B will consist of on-farm trials with local organic dairymen in Kentucky and Tennessee. For each of the 4-6 farms participating, a monoculture/mixture from Objective A will be selected that best fits the needs of the individual farm and performed well to be established in small paddocks on farm. A neighboring paddock will be established as a control with a common pasture mixture for comparison. Both paddocks will be managed as needed to optimize forage quality and yield; temporary electric fence will be used to optimize utilization by grazing animals. In addition to soil and forage quality parameters on each pasture, performance measurements from animals will be measure by DHIA including milk, fat, protein and lactose yields, milk quality, animal activity, cleanliness and lameness. Upon completion of this project, we expect to have identified a combination of grass mixtures that provides the best combination of economic efficiency, production, animal health and welfare.
Effective start/end date9/1/152/28/21


  • University of Tennessee: $476,804.00


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