Farmers converting to grass-fed dairy production require technical assistance to assure the farm is getting accurate and relevant information. These opportunities don’t fit every farm and farmers should be well aware of any potential risks as well as the opportunities.
There is need to collect information from first adopters to quantify how management differences effects the success of these producers. Farmers need support determining what herd size their land base can support, what soil and forage quality improvements will be needed, and to understand the financial pros and cons of grass-fed dairy production.
This project helped develop the first grass-fed production benchmarking program. Production information from 22 grass-fed organic milk producers helped to document the characteristics, benefits, and challenges of this production system.
Information about the benefits and challenges of grass-fed organic dairy was delivered to over 1000 stakeholders through workshops, field days, conferences, and webinars. In addition, a grass-fed dairy production manual was developed through information gathered from the benchmarking program and the scientific literature. Overall, the program helped 22 new farmers convert to grass-fed dairy and 82 farmers improve forage or soil quality to help reduce grain feeding on their farms.