Creating, planning, and using forage quality budgets to optimize milk production on grazing daries

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2009: $14,340.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
David Kissel
University of Georgia

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: grazing management

    Proposal abstract:

    Grazing dairies do not import as many nutrients onto farm premises as confinement dairies because they utilize pastures rather than stored feedstuffs to meet nutritional needs of livestock. However, dairy cows have a very high energy demand during lactation. Therefore, the success of a grazing dairy is predicated on a forage program that will provide high quality forage to meet the energy demands of the lactating cow. This purpose of this project is to combine yield and quality information for irrigated forages grown in Georgia to develop a web-based forage systems planning tool planning tool based upon expected milk yield rather than forage production alone.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will construct a forage spreadsheet with detailed production and quality information that can be used to predict forage yield, forage quality, and milk production from dairy cows. It will provide a means for which producers, consultants, and university personnel capable of using an EXCEL spreadsheet can use “gaming” techniques to mix and match forage species and acreages planted to each with livestock management (calving, calf retention, heifer development, etc.) to calculate a forage production/livestock need balance sheet to plan forage systems for farms.

    The outreach effort for the proposed research will be designed to maximize contact between producers, county and state extension specialists, and promote national exposure as a template for how our strategy can be used for other states/geographical areas in the nation. A Microsoft Excel database will be loaded onto the UGA forages website to provide an interactive venue for producers to gain training. The program will also be used to train future agricultural specialists/consultants/agents by using it as a teaching tool in the undergraduate and graduate forages course at The University of Georgia.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.