Home » Posts » Small Dairy

Small Dairy

Small Dairy Research

The following is a sampling of research projects relevant to small dairies. If you have a specific interest that is not addressed here, contact Alan Bell, Chair, Department of Animal Science, 607-255-2862,  awb6@cornell.edu
Click on a title below to navigate to the specific project.
DAIRY FARM BUSINESS SUMMARY, NEW YORK SMALL HERD FARMS | EVALUATING OVERALL HEALTH AND PHYSICAL MOVEMENT OF DAIRY HEIFERS IN CONFINEMENT VS. MANAGEMENT INTENSIVE GRAZING | DAIRY FARM BUSINESS SUMMARY, NEW YORK INTENSIVE GRAZING FARMS | USE OF WHOLE FARM ANALYSIS TO REDUCE NUTRIENT LOSSES, IMPROVE NUTRIENT CYCLING, CARBON STATUS AND ENERGY USE ON SMALL DAIRIES IN NEW YORK STATE | PRECISION FEED MANAGEMENT | PRODAIRY PROFIT DISCUSSION GROUP PROGRAM| Extension Resources
 
DAIRY FARM BUSINESS SUMMARY, NEW YORK SMALL HERD FARMS, 80 COWS OR FEWER

The primary objective of the Dairy Farm Business Summary (DFBS) is to help farm managers improve financial management of their business through appropriate use of historical data and the application of modern farm business analysis techniques.  This information can also be used to more effectively create and reach monetary goals.  In short, DFBS provides business and financial information needed in identifying and evaluating strengths and weaknesses of the farm business. 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far:1) For 2011 data, 54 New York small dairy farms used the DFBS to analyze their farm business.  The average data for these 54 farms are summarized in the publication. 2) Net farm income without appreciation, increased 43.9 percent from 2010 to 2011.  A positive rate of return of 4.2 percent was an improvement over -1.1 percent in 2010.
 
For More Information: http://dfbs.dyson.cornell.edu/
To order copies of the publication:  http://dyson.cornell.edu/outreach/order.php
Duration: Ongoing 
Project Leader(s): Wayne Knoblauch, 607-255-1599, wak4@cornell.edu
 
Project Partners: New York Dairy Farm Operators/Managers, Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators, agribusiness consultants, Pro-Dairy, Dyson School faculty
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Small farms are facing increasing management challenges in their efforts to control costs and remain profitable. This publication reports the average performance and characteristics of small farms and the average of the top 25 percent of those small farms with highest rate of return on assets (without appreciation). Thus, not only can the average performance of small farms be used as a benchmark, but the performance of the most profitable small farms as well.
 
Funding Source(s): NYFVI, Pro-Dairy, The Bank of Castile, NBT Bank, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

EVALUATING OVERALL HEALTH AND PHYSICAL MOVEMENT OF DAIRY HEIFERS IN CONFINEMENT VS. MANAGEMENT INTENSIVE GRAZING

The main goal of this project is to encourage more dairies in the Northeast to utilize Management Intensive Grazing to raise their heifers for a portion of the year. This will be accomplished by adding to existing knowledge about the practice. Existing knowledge includes: economics, environmental impact and health benefits. This project will add three new areas of knowledge to the practice. Specifically, this project is reviewing records of 3 groups of 60 heifers which spent a summer (150 days) on pasture during the ages of 8-12 months. Researchers will assign age appropriate
herd mates which will spend the summer in confined housing. The total study group will number approximately 360 animals. Through the use of Dairy-Comp 305 Software researchers will look for any significant differences in overall health indicators such as: breedings per conception, longevity in the herd, milk production, and health problems. The other component of this project involves data collection using the IceTag 300, a wireless pedometer that can measure differences in physical movement between a group of heifers in confinement vs. a group on pasture. The pedometers will also be used to measure differences in movement related to the length of residency in a paddock.
 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Data-logging of steps taken by heifers while on pasture has been conducted for several seasons. The high volume of data should lend itself to statistically significant interpretations.
Duration: Ongoing 
Project Leader(s): A. Fay Benson, afb3@cornell.edu
 
Project Partners: See sare.org for complete list
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Improved health of dairy heifers and increased productivity of dairy farm
 
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # ONE11-134
 
For More Information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/ONE11-134

DAIRY FARM BUSINESS SUMMARY, NEW YORK INTENSIVE GRAZING FARMS

This program is provided to farms utilizing intensive grazing as part of the Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program.  Managers of each participating farm business receive a comprehensive summary and analysis of their farm’s production and financial performance.  This study of intensive grazing focuses on 28 New York farms where farms  were not organic , were not first year grazers, and at least 30 percent of forage consumed during the grazing season was grazed.  Fifty-four non-grazing farms of similar herd size to the 28 grazing farms were included as a comparison. 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: NY farm operators are able to consider the option of intensive grazing on their farm. Case studies in the publication provide first-hand experiences by intensive grazing farm operators.
 
For More Information: http://dfbs.dyson.cornell.edu/. To order copies of the publication:  http://dyson.cornell.edu/outreach/order.php
Duration: Ongoing
 
Project Leader(s): George Conneman, 607-255-4597, gjc4@cornell.edu
 
Project Partners: New York Dairy Farm Operators/Managers, Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators, agribusiness consultants, Pro-Dairy, Dyson School faculty
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Small farmers have the ability to compare the effects of different grazing practices
 
Funding Source(s): NYFVI, Pro-Dairy, The Bank of Castile, NBT Bank, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

USE OF WHOLE FARM ANALYSIS TO REDUCE NUTRIENT LOSSES, IMPROVE NUTRIENT CYCLING, CARBON STATUS AND ENERGY USE ON SMALL DAIRIES IN NEW YORK STATE

Four dairy farm management teams conducted three years of farm analyses, and all teams saw a trend in improved nutrient use efficiency. Tools used for farm nutrient use assessment were Mass Nutrient Balance, Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT), Soil Test Phosphorus (STP), Soil Test Potassium (STK), Corn Stalk Nitrate Tests (CSNT), manure analysis, and farm maps. Teams met annually to discuss changes that were made on each farm, review results, and identify action items for the next year. A final evaluation allowed management teams to identify tools they will continue to use beyond the duration of this project for whole farm analysis and improving nutrient use. Useful tools identified were whole farm soil testing, farm maps, and farm mass balance trends. The usefulness of whole farm soil testing was found to be linked to the presentation style of the results. Maps and graphs of soil testing results were used to make manure distribution decisions and prioritize manure applications. The soil test information most frequently used was the ISNT, STP and STK. Other nutrients and soil pH were useful when presented in a summary table with interpretations. Corn stalk nitrates were found useful on the conventional dairy farms but were not on the two organic dairy farms. Farm maps were rated as highly useful tools on all farms. 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Identification of relevant agro-environmental indicators (AEI’s) led to their inclusion in annual nutrient mass balance assessments on 75 NY small farms.
Duration: 2008-2011 
Project Leader(s): Quirine Ketterings, qmk2@cornell.edu
 
Project Partners: Patricia Ristow, plr27@cornell.edu; see sare.org for complete list
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Increase dairy farm profitability
 
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # LNE08-271
 
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE08-271

PRECISION FEED MANAGEMENT FOR IMPROVED PROFITABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP IN YATES COUNTY, NY

Cornell University Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Yates County is partnering with Cornell University’s Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Team (NWNY Team) to work with owners of small dairy operations on adopting Precision Feed Management (PFM), an approach for using farm resources more wisely. Both nutritionists and nutrient management specialists are contributing time towards the promotion and implementation of this project. Replication of these efforts within regional watersheds is expected. Initial contact was made via informational flyers sent to 258 small farm owners. Participating farms will be involved with forage management field days, pasture management tours and nutrient management workshops. Throughout the project, individual farm visits by members of the PFM Work Group will facilitate PFM plan implementation and data collection. Emphasis will be placed on tracking feed nitrogen and phosphorus inputs, feed costs, milk production, overall cow health, forage quality improvements, forage intake, and manure management. 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: The project generated interest in precision feed management by key community leaders.
Duration: Ongoing 
Project Leader(s): Gerald Bertoldo, grb23@cornell.edu
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Increase dairy farm profitability
 
Funding Source(s): SARE, grant # LNE11-308
 
For more information: http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/LNE11-308

PRODAIRY PROFIT DISCUSSION GROUP PROGRAM

The objective of the ProDairy profit discussion group program is to increase the profitability of New York dairy businesses. Discussion groups promoted effective use of management strategies, implementation of appropriate technology, and monitoring of production and economic parameters.  They represented diversity in both geography and production management systems that characterize the New York dairy industry. 
Top Impact from Work Thus Far: Discussion groups increased implementation of appropriate technology and management practices.
 
For more information: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/prodairy/index.html
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/prodairy/program/discgroup.html
Duration: Program initiated in April of 2008. Current funding runs through March 2013. 
Project Leader(s): Kathy Barrett, 607-229-4357, kfb3@cornell
 
Project Partners: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Dairy One, Farm Credit East
 
Potential Benefits for Small Farms: Discussion groups are based on farmers with a shared commonality (i.e. small farms, grazing, young farmers) meeting on a regular basis to discuss topics that are pertinent to them.  The emphasis is on the shared knowledge of group members.
 
Funding Source(s): New York State Dairy Farmers

 

Small Dairy Extension Resources

Cornell University Department of Animal Sciences
The Department of Animal Science’s mission is to discover and disseminate new knowledge about the biology & management of domestic animals and to apply this knowledge to benefit society. For Animal Science Department information, contact W. R. Butler, Chair and Professor at 607-255-5497 or wrb2@cornell.edu.  Morrison Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/
Cornell Small Farms Program
The Cornell Small Farms Program maintains current resources pertaining to business and financial planning, cattle health, feed and forages, organic production, and value-added processing.  Visit  www.smallfarms.cornell.edu and click on Resources  > Small Dairy.
PRO-Dairy Program
This program facilitates New York State economic development by increasing the profitability and competitiveness of its dairy industry. PRO-DAIRY enables farm families and other agricultural professionals to realize their values and strive to achieve their professional and personal goals. There are several focuses of the program, including developing farm business, production, environmental, and facilities engineering systems management. For more information contact Tom Overton, Director, 272 Morrison Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. (607)255-2878, tro2@cornell.edu or visit http://ansci.cornell.edu/prodairy/index.html.
Transitioning to Organic Dairy Production
This workbook will help you explore questions such as: How stable is the market for organic milk? How much will it cost? What are the yield reductions in forage production? What are some herd health/cull rate considerations? After completing the workbook, you should have a business plan, a budget, and an action plan to follow during this challenging time. $12. To order a copy, call the NY FarmNet office at 1-800-547-3276. View the full list of FarmNet publications at nyfarmnet.org/
Dairy Profit Manager
The Dairy Profit Monitor (DPM) is a web-based business management tool that allows producers and their advisers to track operating performance in five key areas: milk production, herd health, milk check analysis, efficiency parameters, and financial management. It can highlight how the dairy changes month to month, quarter to quarter and over 12 rolling months. DPM is unique in how it incorporates herd production and health data with key financial and efficiency information and provides a baseline report for determining how different parts of the dairy business are affecting each other. Farms can sign up at dairyprofit.cornell.edu and use the program free of charge for 3 months.

Back to Top

Back to Table of Contents

Avatar

arw225@cornell.edu

Posted in

Leave a Comment