CIAS research focuses on the sustainability of diverse crop and livestock systems. Our work includes pasture-based livestock production, fresh fruit and vegetable production and marketing, specialty crops, integrated farming systems and other topics.
Holstein steers show good gains on kura clover (Research Brief #59)
Is kura clover a good legume choice in rotationally grazed pastures? A study conducted at the UW Lancaster Agricultural Research Station says yes, with excellent beef production on kura clover/grass pastures. Kura's persistence and leafy growth led to higher Holstein steer growth rates on kura/grass pastures than red clover/grass pastures.
New Zealand internships provide eye-opening experience
“I must say it was the hardest I’ve ever worked for free, but somehow I really didn’t mind. I knew that the knowledge I gained was priceless.” Those are the words of Mike Tomandl who recently completed a dairy farm internship in New Zealand. He and fellow intern Joe Heimerl went to New Zealand in […] more
Starting your own dairy farm (Research Brief #58)
Despite volatile milk prices, hundreds of new farmers get started in dairying each year. Compared to other types of livestock farming, dairying can provide a higher income per animal, monthly paychecks, and, in many areas, more markets.
Nurturing the Next Generation of Wisconsin’s Dairy Farmers
New dairy farmers often face high start-up costs for land, equipment and facilities. Volatile milk prices, long hours and hard work reduce the appeal of a career in dairy farming. To better understand the start-up strategies used by beginning dairy farmers, a research team surveyed 321 beginning dairy farmers in 1996. They also conducted in […] more
Raising poultry on pasture (Research Brief #57)
A common way to raise pastured poultry involves putting 75 to 100 three- to four-week old meat chickens in movable pens during the growing season. These floorless 10' by 12' by 2' pens are moved daily by sliding them along the ground, providing fresh pasture. Chickens also receive a grain-based ration. At 8-14 weeks, the chickens are butchered and sold to consumers or restaurants.
Starting—and succeeding—as a Wisconsin dairy farmer (Research Brief #56)
You don’t need to take over a family farm, or even grow up on a farm, to be a successful dairy farmer in Wisconsin. You can milk 50 or 150 cows, and you can own or rent land. But you do need to identify how well your experience, financial resources, and farming support networks can […] more
Low-input forage rotation: similar returns, reduced costs (Research Brief #53)
Dairy farmers can reduce their purchased inputs without cutting into their profits. An ongoing twelve-year study of two forage rotations similar to those found on Wisconsin dairy farms compared a diversified, low-input system with a less diverse rotation requiring high levels of commercial inputs. While the two systems returned similar profits, the low-input system incurred […] more
CSA: More for your money than fresh vegetables (Research Brief #52)
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms provide their members with more than fresh produce. CSA farms engage their members in agriculture through newsletters, farm celebrations, and you-pick days. Some CSA members may realize significant financial savings, as well. CSA farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin wanted to find out how the cost of a CSA membership compares […] more