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Project dates

2016 to present

Two year Collection of milk and forage production on organic dairies that feed no grain

Farmers interested in this market will need to make management changes to monitor herd health and production and to improve forage quantity and quality. This project will provide benchmarks to help them make an informed decision on whether grass-fed markets are a viable option for their farm.

Monthly data collection from 20 grass-fed dairies over two years

The project will develop benchmarks of milk and forage production to help farmers successfully monitor their grass-fed farms or consider transition to grass-fed production.

Key Highlights

  • Of the 140 initial surveys we had 81 farmers return our initial survey. The project team was surprised to get such a high percentage of returns (58%).
  • The surveys provided a snapshot of: grazing practices, farm size, milk production, and other management practices unique to this style of milk production.
  • Collection of the data through the monthly Grass-fed Monitor (GFM) allowed us to collect feed intake, production numbers, and milk components on the twenty farms in the study.
  • This data was compiled and sent back to farmers monthly to see how they ranked within the group.
  • During the second year farmers used the monthly data to compare to their own production the previous year.
  • Heather Darby completed research on high energy forage varieties.


This was a Research and Extension Grant from NESARE.

Program Members

PI - Fay Benson, and Abbie Teeter with the Cornell Small Dairy Program
Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont
Sarah Flack, Vermont consultant

For additional information