How can a grazing-based dairy compete in today's market?
This is a key question for Minnesota farmers and for the health of our state's environment - one that requires careful and studied information.
At the WCROC, we employ a holistic approach to provide data backed by research. With our range of scientists combined with on-site herd and pastures, we can study grazing-based livestock systems, analyzing and blending elements of dairy science, economics, environmental quality and forages.
By engaging community groups for input and feedback on our studies, we ensure that our work is sensitive to the needs of Minnesota farmers and residents.
How can dairy farmers reduce labor and costs while improving herd health?
How can we crossbreed for longer life spans and higher quality milk production?
These questions and others are the focus of our dairy science research, led by Dr. Dennis Johnson. Through his research, and working in concert with other WCROC scientists, Dr. Johnson is trying to find ways to make moderate and small-sized dairy farms profitable, healthy, and environmentally-friendly. Dr. Johnson has found that operating successful moderate and small-sized dairies require a concentration on optimizing milk production rather than maximizing it.
Current research also examines how conventional dairy farmers can transition to organic dairy farming- a market with tremendous potential for growth.
Stocky red-and-whites, tall and bony black-and-whites, solidly built all-black. Dozens of dairy calves of every color and body type—separated into small groups by age and size—loiter and play in the straw-lined wooden pens and shelters at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) near the U's campus at Morris.
(photo taken by David Hansen)