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U of M study will help organic dairy farms become more profitable

October 25, 2012

Organic dairy farmers and University of Minnesota experts will collaborate on a new study aimed at improving dairies’ profitability through improved pasture production, best management practices for animal comfort and more milk production.

The project, headquartered at the university’s West Central Research and Outreach Center at Morris, brings farmers together with experts in animal science, entomology, agronomy and economics.  A $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping fund the four-year project.

The West Central Research and Outreach center has its own certified organic dairy, one of only two at land-grant research universities in the United States that have made the transition from traditional to organic dairy production.  Farmers from across Minnesota were involved in designing the project and will be involved in on-farm research and demonstrations.

“Over the next four years, we’ll be looking at best management practices for not only improving milk quality and quantity, but also in improving cow health and in making organic pasture land more productive,” said Brad Heins, an assistant professor of animal science and the project’s lead investigator. The results of the research will be shared nationwide through webinars, conferences and field days.

The research grant is part of the USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative, a program aimed at helping organic producers and processors grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.

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