- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: grazing management, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational
- Crop Production: foliar feeding, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, integrated crop and livestock systems
- Soil Management: soil microbiology
Pastures are an integral component of livestock production in the northeast, particularly for organic dairies and small, diversified farms. One challenge for many new pasture based farms is the need to renovate old, deteriorated pastures. Spaying dilute raw milk onto pastures is a novel, untested practice that has recently gained widespread prominence as a potential means of increasing forage production and quality. Farmers are also interested in learning about other products and procedures. Graziers need a reliable means of testing pasture improvement tools. On-farm testing allows the farmer to trial a certain product or technology at a lower cost and under the farm’s specific conditions before adopting it on a much larger scale. Such practices have the potential to save farmers money and time while encouraging innovation and experimentation. This partnership project will investigate if foliar applications of dilute raw milk on pasture will improve the productivity, palatability and quality of pasture using on an on-farm testing method on two organic dairy farms.
The experiment will also provide graziers with a model research method that could be replicated on other farms in order to test other products and practices on pasture. Outreach will be accomplished by a fact sheet, pamphlet, On-Farm Testing template,and through the Vermont Grass Farmers Association events and newsletter, the Northeast Pasture Consortium.
Project objectives from proposal:
We propose to conduct on-farm research investigating if a dilute foliar application of waste milk to pastures can increase forage production and quality under Vermont conditions. The experiment will also provide graziers with a model research method that could be replicated on other farms in order to test other products and practices on pasture.
Objective 1: Assess changes in pasture soil health, and forage production, quality, and palatability that occur as a result of a dilute foliar application of waste (or raw) milk.
Objective 2: Provide graziers with a prototype On-Farm Testing (OFT) methodology that can be replicated on other farms in order to test other products and practices.