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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Among organic and sustainable farmers, there is a belief that healthy ecosystems with minimally disturbed soils, adequate access to diverse, high quality forages, and clean water have a robust correlation with cows’ well-being and milk quality.  However, there has been limited research on the relationships between changes in biodiversity, livestock health, and farm management and productivity.

Therefore, in 2012, a University of Vermont research team began a multidisciplinary, long-term study to learn if managing farms for increased diversity at different “community” levels (from rumen microbes to forage composition) in Northeast pasture-based dairy production systems positively contributes to improved livestock well-being, health and productivity, and creates an ecological service feedback loop that benefits soil and natural resource diversity.

“While this research is being done in the northeast, it’s application has amazing potential for the nations largest livestock state” says the new Tarrant County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Fred. M. Hall. The 60-minute webinar program is set for 1 p.m. on Monday, January 4 and will be held in the Fort Worth Room at the Tarrant County Extension office located at 200 Taylor St. in Fort Worth.

While there is no fee for the program, registration must be made by noon on the work day prior. If there are no registrations, that program will be cancelled. Registration is available on-line at:

The presenter is Dr. Juan Alvez who been conducting an on-farm study looking at tools to monitor grazing behavior, forage intakes, and rumen activity in real time. By evaluating these instruments by measuring outcomes related to soil biological composition, cattle health, and milk composition, the study seeks to determine whether these tools can help farmers better manage pasture resources. In this webinar, Juan will describe the overall project and its goals as well as research results to date.

Up coming organics programs in the 2016 series include: The New NRCS Division of Soil Health: Approach and Benefits on Tuesday, January 12, Soil Water Sensors for Agriculture– Theory and Issues on Thursday, January 14, and Grazing Systems and Forage Quality of Grasses for Organic Dairy Production on Thursday, February 11. All begin at 1 p.m.

For more information contact the Tarrant County Extension Office at 817.884.1945. To register go on-line at:



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