Integration: Putting it all together
The information provided throughout the Dairy N site is aimed at making efficient use of nitrogen across the crop and soil, feed storage, herd, and manure storage enterprises on dairy farms. Continuing to hone environmentally sound and profitable management on dairy farms will require efficient N use within each enterprise, but also coordination among all components of the dairy farm operation. Examples of questions that cut across dairy farm enterprises follow.
- Are homegrown forages managed with input from the herd manager, nutritionist, etc.?
- How can the forages from the conservation crop rotation be included in the ration so as to make more use of homegrown forages and reduce N imported through purchased feeds?
- Does the manure storage and handling system allow manure N to be delivered to crops when they’re actively taking up nitrogen?
- Does the crop rotation and manure system allow for timely harvests or is more equipment/labor needed?
- Are the silos configured to separate forages of different quality?
- Are the cows managed so as to make good use of the homegrown forages and purchased feeds?
- What are the costs and benefits of the changes?
The following page offers case studies that describe how farms have made changes to reduce mass nutrient balances and losses by taking a whole farm approach to nutrient management.