Missouri Dairy Business Update
MU Southwest Center Grazing Dairy - September Update
By Dr. Stacey Hamilton, University of Missouri Extension
A pasture-based dairy without pasture can be a difficult enterprise. Currently, the Southwest Research Center is in such a situation, however it is due to the start of new research projects rather than weather conditions. The entire grazing platform was sprayed out around August 20. A new forage trial comparing two novel endophyte fescues (BarOptima and GT213) began on September 10 with establishment of these grasses. In the spring of 2014, cows will be randomized to age, weight and milk production with half of the cows grazing BarOptima and the other half grazing the GT213 fescue. Measurements of milk production, forage yield and quality and stand longevity will be taken throughout the year to determine which variety performs the best in a management grazing system.
This project is in conjunction with a variety trial where six novel endophyte fescues as well as endophyte free K31 and K31 with high levels of endophyte were established the fall of 2012 in 30 ft. by 40 ft plots for each variety. Cows this spring will be allowed “free choice” grazing on these plots within the pasture to determine if there is a preference of certain varieties. Additionally, yield and stand density will be monitored.
We hope results from these trials will give producers more information when selecting and managing these novel fescues.
Additionally, the Southwest Research Dairy received the Platinum award for reproductive efficiency and management from the Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council. This award compares nominated dairies across the United States against one another as well as reproductive parameters determined by the DCRC. The faculty and staff at the Southwest Center are honored to be recognized for their work on reproductive management protocols.