Conversion of a Marginal Row-crop and CRP Farm to a Seasonal Grass-based Dairy
Success should not always be measured in bushels, pounds or dollars. Quality of life, conservation of natural resources, and concern for the environment should also be considered.
Objective: To demonstrate the feasibility and effect that a seasonal grass-based dairy can have on a family farm by enhancing quality of life while protecting the environment.
Methods: The coordinator purchased used milking equipment to be installed in existing barn to meet Grade A specifications. In addition, he purchased 35 head of Jersey x cows, established grass/legume pastures on row-crop land, frost-seeded clover in a brome orchard pasture, installed hi-tensile perimeter fencing, and implemented a Management-Intensive Grazing (MIG) system.
Results: First year goals were all met. The milking parlor is in operation, fencing has been completed, and pasture renovation is underway. One season of milking has been completed. Reliance on off-farm inputs has been dramatically reduced, and the Brights are very optimistic about the future of their operation both financially and environmentally.
North Central Region SARE 1998 Annual Report.