Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE99-245.
This project was about implementing or improving managed intensive grazing on dairy farms in central New York. Several agents from Cornell Cooperative Extension worked with six farmers to establish rotational grazing systems or, in two cases, improve them where they were already in place. They visited the farms and gave assistance and advice on laying out paddocks, collecting forage and soil samples, controlling weeds, tracking milking production, scoring animals’ body condition and other subjects.
Five of the participating farmers kept track of costs over the grazing season. Mean data for these farms are presented alongside data for dairy farms of comparable size and location but not practicing managed intensive grazing. The data showed clearly the benefits of rotational grazing in lower labor and feed costs, whether figured per cow or per unit quality of milk produced. Net income worked out to $595 per cow and $38,000 per farm for the five farms. This compares with $114 per cow and $9500 per farm for the comparison group not practicing managed intensive grazing.