Since it was created in 1989, CIAS has supported grazing research. We take a systems approach that unites grassland management, animal nutrition, economics, marketing, rural sociology, and the environmental benefits of grazing. One important goal of our work is to strengthen links between researchers and the grazing community.
Biological control of Canada thistle: more work needed (Research Brief #65)
Canada thistle is a big headache for livestock producers managing pastures. Animals won't eat this spiny, tough plant, reducing productivity of pastures and livestock. Despite being on Wisconsin's noxious weed list and a target for serious control for many years, it is still a significant, widespread problem.
Ovsynch results variable on grass-based dairy farms (Research Brief #61)
To take maximum advantage of pasture growth, dairy farmers using rotational grazing often have a short (less than 3 month) spring calving window as a goal. But this is difficult to achieve. CIAS-supported research on a Wisconsin grazing farm shows that the Ovsynch breeding program, while successful on confinement dairy farms, can be problematic on grazing dairy farms.
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.
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
Management Tool Helps Farmers Convert Pastures to Profits
Stocker production can help farmers convert pastures to profits, particularly if they have a surplus of grass but not a lot of facilities. Managing pasture, animals, costs, and markets plays a key role in determining the level of profit that farmers can expect, however. Researchers with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University […] more