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Feed costs (including homegrown forages, grains, & purchased feeds) are the #1 cost on virtually all dairy farms. Yet this is an area that is often left underexplored. While increasing forage yield and quality has been a focus on progressive dairies for quite some time, the focus has been limited to just a few crops. On many dairies forage feeding has been restricted due to either inadequate supply or inconsistent quality. Real traction on a farm’s profitability requires a multifaceted cohesive approach.

King’s AgriSeeds is prepared to offer solutions to many of these common quandaries. Their yearly Winter Forage Meetings are back for 2017. The company, based near Lancaster County, PA specializes in forage and cover crop seeds with high-end genetics. This year, King’s has partnered with Cornell University to deliver a comprehensive educational program on maximizing forage value.

The seminar and case study will focus on elevating the growing and feeding of forages beyond the traditional parameters of tonnage, quality and the basic high forage ration. Newly developed fiber digestibility tests will be introduced that can give you and your management team confidence in feeding innovative forage species. High quality forages have the potential to increase milk production while reducing ration costs, increasing total forage yield and digestibility, and improving nutrient management on the farm.

This advanced forage seminar for all types of dairies and their advisors will feature both university and industry leaders, and a case study of Bru-Mar Farms of Fort Plain, NY.

Overview of topics:

  • Crop rotations: Perennial and annual combinations as well as alternative crop rotations that make milk
  • Improving forage quality: Fiber digestibility and advances in grass quality
  • Maintaining profitability: How forage quantity and quality affects farm profitability and sustainability
  • Implementing change: Case study on one producer’s success with high forage rations and improved forage production

Speakers include:

Joe Lawrence grew up on a dairy farm in Northern NY and went on to complete undergraduate degrees in engineering and agronomy. After a short experience with Soil and Water Conservation District he joined the Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell and earned a Masters Degree in Crop and Soil Sciences with a focus on nutrient management. This led to an opportunity with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County as a field crops specialist where he gained a true appreciation and deep interest in a whole farm approach to forage management. This was followed by an opportunity in private crop consulting and valuable experience that furthered his interest and understanding in forages, before joining the PRO-DAIRY team at Cornell University as a forage management specialist in 2016.

Thomas Overton, PhD is Professor of Dairy Management in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University. Tom is recognized nationally and internationally for his research and extension efforts relating to metabolism, immune function, and nutritional physiology of the transition cow and his work on milk component production in cows. He serves as Director of the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell, and as Associate Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension works with statewide and regional extension teams within New York to enhance the dairy and agricultural industries in New York State. He teaches the applied dairy cattle nutrition course for undergraduates and co-teaches a course in dairy nutrition for veterinary students.

Shawn Lasher: is a member of the management and nutrition company Progressive Dairy Solutions based in Oakdale, California. He was an operations manager of a large farm in central New York for 7 years. Shawn has worked in the feed mill industry consulting for grain companies before becoming an independent Nutrition Consultant. He provides nutrition and crop advisement to dairies across the northeast. His focus is entire farm profitability and improvement through adapting new technology.

Devesh Singh: is Director of Research at Barenbrug USA. Devesh joined Barenbrug in 2000. His main area of interest is forage cropping systems research, grass and legume variety selection, and their interaction with animals. Devesh resides in Albany, Oregon and works cooperatively with forage agronomists, breeders and animal scientists around the world. Before joining Barenbrug, Devesh worked at Oregon State University in dryland cropping systems and grass seed production research. Devesh received his Bachelor of Science in India with a major in Agronomy and minor in Animal Husbandry. Devesh earned his Masters of Science degree in Horticulture from University of Florida in 1995. Devesh currently is involved in breeding cool season forage grasses with unique properties that lead to high fiber digestibility and are suitable for high producing dairy cows.

Case Study Profile:

Bru-Mar Farms Owners Bruce, Marcy, & Eric Matis

  • Fort Plain, New York
  • Milking 300 Holsteins 2x
  • Rolling Herd Average 28,400
  • Butterfat 4.1% Milk Protein 3.23%
  • 70% on farm grown feed
  • Cropping system focuses on digestibility and yield

Register by January 15 and receive a $100 coupon from King’s AgriSeeds!

Registration fee: $50 per person per site. Discounts are available to extension staff and university faculty.

Dates and Locations:

January 31: Ramada Conference Hotel, State College, PA

February 1: Holiday Inn, Waterloo, NY

February 2: New Hartford, NY

Contact King’s AgriSeeds, (717) 687-6224 for more information and to register.