The Dairy Innovation Hub welcomes involvement and engagement from the public. Below are three ways to get involved in the Hub’s work.
Participate in research
The following studies are actively recruiting participants:
UW–River Falls: “Financial feasibility and environmental implications of adopting Automatic Milking Systems by dairy farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota”
In recent years, dairy farmers experienced substantial market volatility, hiring challenges and rising labor cost. These factors, and the substantial time that farmers must dedicate to their dairy operations are forcing an exodus from this industry. Automatic milking systems (AMS) offer a potential solution to these issues. This technology also decreases the reliance on labor while improving animal welfare and resource management. However, AMS requires a significant investment, and its net economic benefits depend on several aspects including daily milk production, herd size, and infrastructure needed to accommodate the milking robot in the barn. As a result, small farms are constrained financially to adopt this technology.
This project will assess the financial sustainability and environmental implications of AMS adoption in Wisconsin and Minnesota dairy farms. Three farm typologies are considered: traditional non-adopters (particularly small-sized operations), farms transitioning to AMS and established AMS adopters. The project’s aims are:
- Identify and quantify demographic, economic, and environmental attributes that influence dairy farmers’ decisions to adopt or transition into AMS.
- Evaluate changes in labor skills profile required among AMS adopting farms and explore labor-hiring challenges and alternatives for dairy farms with traditional labor-intensive milking production.
- Assess the overall feasibility of AMS technology by analyzing financial and operating management practices required to adopt AMS and determining specific sets of business strategies that optimize farm profitability for each of the three farm typologies.
This project is currently seeking survey responses and focus group participation from dairy farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin
Contacts: Luis Peña-Lévano, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics, UW–River Falls email@example.com
UW–Madison and UW–Platteville: “Developing a novel biomarker panel for monitoring of fatty liver and metabolic health in dairy cows“
Within this project, Drs. Pralle and White have developed a biomarker panel that uses a single blood sample collected shortly after calving to predict fatty liver and liver health. This information can be used to troubleshoot transition cow management and nutrition. Prior to this project, our research generated a 90% accurate diagnostic model that required metabolite concentrations and cow production data from several timepoints. As a part of this CERANR-funded project, we developed a single-sample blood biomarker panel and model for predicting the extent of liver TG content.
The next step in this research is to test the single-sample models in a variety of management settings. We are recruiting privately-owned dairy farms to participate in the study. Once a farm is identified, a research team (a co-PI and students) will arrange a farm visit where they will collect blood sample from cows that are 3 to 7 DIM (25 cows/herd maximum), retrieve production data from management software (i.e. Dairy Comp 305), conduct a walkthrough of the herd facilities, and preliminarily discuss present metabolic health challenges and successes. Samples will be analyzed in the lab and results will be shared with the farm. We anticipate the farm visits to be heavily focused in summer 2022.
This project is funded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources (CERANR) and leverages funding from the Dairy Innovation Hub.
Contacts: Ryan Pralle, Assistant Professor of Animal and Dairy Science at UW–Platteville – firstname.lastname@example.org and Heather White, Associate Professor of Nutritional Physiology at UW–Madison – email@example.com.
Are you a member of the business community looking to engage in Hub-funded research at UW–Madison, UW–Platteville or UW–River Falls? Contact Maria Woldt, program manager for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 265-4009.
Submit a research idea
Do you have a research idea or a question about an existing Hub-funded project? Please contact us!