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Understanding Nutrient & Sediment Loss at Breneman Farms 7 Dry Matter Intake and Manure Production for Dry Matter Intake and Manure Production for Management Intensively Grazed Dairy Cattle Kevan Klingberg and Dennis Frame UW


  1. Understanding Nutrient & Sediment Loss at Breneman Farms ‐ 7 Dry Matter Intake and Manure Production for Dry Matter Intake and Manure Production for Management Intensively Grazed Dairy Cattle Kevan Klingberg and Dennis Frame – UW Extension/Discovery Farms Dennis Cosgrove – UW ‐ River Falls

  2. Breneman Farms • On ‐ farm research was conducted on the Breneman farm to investigate environmental challenges and opportunities for grass ‐ based dairies on the Wisconsin landscape, 2002 ‐ 2007. g p , • While cooperating with the UW ‐ Discovery Farms Program, pasture and dairy herd management information from this pasture and dairy herd management information from this farm was compiled within a larger pool of statewide farm information through a USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project. and Education (SARE) project. – The Breneman farm was one of seven farms utilized for on ‐ farm research associated with a SARE project titled: “ Nutrient research associated with a SARE project titled: Nutrient Management Planning for Dairy Farms Practicing Management Intensive Rotational Grazing. ”

  3. Breneman Farms Grazing ‐ based dairy. 42 paddocks. 80 crossbred dairy cows + young stock cows + young stock. (1.6 acres / AU) Coarse textured soil Out ‐ winter cows and older heifers Columbia County, WI

  4. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • Grass ‐ based dairies have existed in Wisconsin since we began milking cows. • While many dairies have moved cattle into confinement facilities, the Wisconsin dairy industry includes an important and ever ‐ growing group of l d d f producers who practice Management Intensive Grazing (MIG). • In the past several years the interest in MIG has been increasing as demonstrated in the 2004 Agricultural increasing, as demonstrated in the 2004 Agricultural Statistics, which indicates that about 14 percent of the state’s dairy operations were utilizing some version of managed grazing managed grazing.

  5. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • Grazing systems allow producers to begin or continue dairying with minimal investment in equipment on farms where their daily activities center on managing y g g grass and dairy animals. • As with any farming system there are many variations • As with any farming system, there are many variations within rotational grazing, which include choices in the frequency of moving cattle, the types of facilities to house and milk cattle, and the method to produce milk ‐ h d ilk ttl d th th d t d ilk either conventionally or organically. • The use of MIG farming systems can be done with dairy cattle, beef, sheep or any other form of livestock capable of utilizing forage ‐ based systems. capable of utilizing forage based systems.

  6. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • Grass ‐ based dairy systems simultaneously y y y combine grazing animals, actively growing pasture forage, paddock fences, watering facilities travel lanes and generally some type of facilities, travel lanes, and generally some type of low ‐ cost housing facilities. • These systems greatly minimize the need for mechanical forage harvesting equipment, feed storage and handling and intensive housing storage and handling and intensive housing facilities, as well as manure storage, handling and hauling.

  7. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • Dairies practicing MIG report increased profitability as a result of lower feed, energy, equipment, and labor costs, as well as improved animal health and lower veterinary costs. • Although Wisconsin studies have shown that when managed correctly, both grazing and non ‐ grazing dairy systems can be correctly, both grazing and non grazing dairy systems can be profitable, a University of Wisconsin ‐ Center for Dairy Profitability study shows that the nine year average (1999 ‐ 2007) total basic costs on grazing dairies were $650 less per cow, compared to confinement dairies. • Similarly, grazing dairies earned $230 more net farm income Similarly, grazing dairies earned $230 more net farm income per cow compared to confinement operations over the same time period.

  8. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • At the heart of this farming system is a focus on h h f h f f ruminant livestock harvesting high quality forage via grazing and spreading their own manure in via grazing and spreading their own manure in the process.

  9. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • Pastures are (usually) – delineated by permanent perimeter fences – further subdivided by temporary fencing – connected by travel lanes – watering systems in common areas Cattle are systematically moved into • and out of paddocks – eating good quality fresh pasture – eating good quality fresh pasture forage – followed by a rest period that f ll d b t i d th t allows adequate time for the perennial grass and legume plants to re ‐ grow before the next grazing to re ‐ grow before the next grazing cycle.

  10. Grazing ‐ based Dairy • UW ‐ Extension publication A3529, “Pastures for profit: a guide to rotational grazing” covers for profit: a guide to rotational grazing covers the basics of setting up rotational grazing (MIG) on your farm. (MIG) on your farm.

  11. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • Nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients applied in an agricultural system continuously cycle from the soil to i lt l t ti l l f th il t crops to feed to livestock to manure, and back to the soil. • Dairies practicing MIG uniquely fit into this cycle as cattle are deliberately moved through a series of paddocks, eating forage plants and naturally depositing manure to the paddocks along the way.

  12. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • Grazing cattle spread their own manure, bypassing the need for on ‐ farm manure storage bypassing the need for on farm manure storage and mechanical manure applications. • Similarly, grazing cattle harvest their own forages bypassing the need for mechanical forages, bypassing the need for mechanical harvesting and on ‐ farm feed storage.

  13. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • Dairy herd managers must know how much feed their y g cattle are consuming to properly balance rations. – Dry matter intake (DMI) is a standard term used for the moisture ‐ free amount of feed an animal eats. – DMI is relatively easy to determine for animals that are offered y y a known quantity of feed at the barn or from a feed bunk. • Within confinement operations, the total pounds of feed Withi fi t ti th t t l d f f d offered minus pounds of feed uneaten at the end of the day equals daily DMI.

  14. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • Determining DMI for rotationally grazed dairy Determining DMI for rotationally grazed dairy cattle becomes more challenging because pasture condition and forage quality vary seasonally. • Also, the actual amount of forage eaten is a function of pre ‐ grazing pasture condition and plant material present minus post ‐ grazing plant material remaining.

  15. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies Dairy cattle eating mixed feed d li delivered in the barn. d i th b Dairy cow grazing on grass + legume pasture.

  16. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • The nutrient content of manure and the amount of manure generated by individual dairy cows is a function of g y y their size, diet, feed utilization efficiency, and milk production. • Similar to determining DMI for confinement dairy systems, determining manure generated within confinement dairies is relatively easy. l l • Confined livestock manure production can for the most • Confined livestock manure production can, for the most part, be measured since almost all manure is captured in gutters, feedlots, or manure storage facilities.

  17. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • Again, determining manure generated by a grazing animal is more challenging because the material is deposited naturally within paddocks as cows eat pasture forage.

  18. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies Liquid manure from a Dairy cows on MIG Dairy cows on MIG confinement barn; stored, pasture, eating forage and pumped, transported and naturally depositing applied to cropland applied to cropland. manure manure.

  19. Feed and Manure on Grazing Dairies • It is important for dairy producers who practice MIG to be able to determine how much pasture forage the cows are eating each day so that a large enough paddock is offered to the cows. y g g p • It is also important to have a good handle on the forage quality so that a ration can be balanced by supplementing the correct that a ration can be balanced by supplementing the correct amount of additional forages, concentrates, minerals and other dietary materials, as needed. • Also, within grazing dairies, knowledge of manure volume generated is a critical value necessary to make sure enough pasture land is utilized for natural manure deposition and to pasture land is utilized for natural manure deposition and to accurately credit manure nutrients toward pasture crop nutrient needs.

  20. SARE Study Design • A three year on ‐ farm research study was conducted to improve nutrient management planning and implementation on dairy farms that planning and implementation on dairy farms that practice MIG, 2003 ‐ 2005. – Pasture growth and quality were measured and farm information was collected from 7 WI dairy farms. • Evaluated the accuracy of four methods that MIG dairy producers use to determine DMI of cows on pasture. • Refined current estimates for daily manure production from grazing dairy cattle.

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