Implementing Dairy Goat Nutrition Programs on Farms for Improved Sustainability
A year of regrouping and building base
In 2006, the project became dormant for a small number of significant reasons. The research partner, i.e., the original ruminant nutritionist who would analyze the farm data and make ration recommendations, had left the University’s employ and, could not be replaced, even through many contacts and one agreement that was rescinded. The dairy goat nutrient ration program provided by Langston University’s website, www.luext.edu/ was usable but still in the development stage and lacked facility of manipulation. It is an interesting observation that these two missing elements mirror the dairy goat industry that grapples with finding a base set of nutrient recommendations and small ruminant nutritionist to interpret and employ them.
While no data was collected in 2006, the search for a ruminant nutritionist partner was consummated with the addition of Dr. Matthew Waldron, a new hire in the University of Vermont’s Department of Animal Science. He not only brings ruminant graduate study focus but years of professional work in the feed industry. The second element of base for this study was also progressed by the invitation and visitation of Dr. Antonello Cannas, Professor of Animal Science, Dipartimento Scienze Zootecniche, University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. The combination of his graduate small ruminant research at Cornell University with the collaboration of other researchers has sprung forth a small ruminant nutrition program that is being updated to complement the sheep portion with a goat portion. Dr. Cannas met with Dr. Waldron and gave 4 seminars around Vermont in October 2006 on goat and sheep nutrition. This project plans to utilize this free nutrition program and invite the advice of Dr. Cannas in our study resumed. (See http://nutritionmodels.tamu.edu/sms/index.htm)
The project will resume in 2007.
Performance Target 1: From a pool of 21 dairy goat farmers in Vermont, 10 will participate in the project and adopt recommended nutrition programs that are more profitable, improve milk production and utilize nutrients better for their improved sustainability.
Target 1 Assessment: In the project’s second year, 8 of the 10 farms will continue implementing the original study. A follow-up debriefing visit with the farmers and feed consultants after 2 years will provide a personal summation and written evaluation of the success and usefulness of the information. Comparison of data collected during the study including feed costs and milk production from years previous to the study will add determination of its success.
Nine farms were recruited/re-recruited to participate in the continued study in 2007.
Building Industry and Farmer Relationships
Milestone #4. 10 farms will adopt recommendations and 8 will continue the study for a second 12 months. Data will be collected every quarter and PI will discuss program with farmer every month.
Data will now be collected and compiled by Vermont Dairy Herd Improvement Association (VT DHIA). This will serve the purposes of obtaining useful reports quickly to the farmers and researchers of the on-farm production data and will create a history and rapport between the farmers and VT DHIA for continued relationships after the end of the study. Data will be collected monthly to create individual goat lactation data.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
No impacts recorded in 2006 due to dormant state of project.
Research Ruminant Nutritionist
University of Vermont
Department of Animal Science
302 Terrill Hall, 570 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05405
Office Phone: 8026560593