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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Extension Fact Sheets Address Issues Facing Dairy Farms and How to Manage Them

April 3, 2009

WOOSTER, Ohio -- "Reducing costs to improve short-term cash flow" is the theme of a series of Ohio State University Dairy Issue Briefs launched by OSU Extension's Dairy Working Group to aid livestock producers facing critical economic issues.


"Plummeting prices in the dairy industry are creating critical cash-flow and long-term survivability issues on Ohio's 3,328 dairy farms," said Dianne Shoemaker, an OSU Extension dairy specialist. "Cost-cutting decisions must be made with full awareness of both short and long-term production and economic consequences."

Through a series of 26 Dairy Issue Briefs, OSU Extension's Dairy Working Group is addressing five key areas impacting Ohio dairy producers: nutrition, crop and feed costs, reproduction and health, calf and heifer management, business issues, and people and stress management.

So far, nine briefs have been completed.

They include:

• Information on using corn silage in dairy cattle diets to reduce cash feed costs.

• Tips on re-evaluating the culling policy when lactating cows may no longer be profitable.

• Changing from a confinement system to a grazing system to potentially reduce short-term costs.

• Lowering feed costs in management intensive grazing systems.

• Exploring the option of removing additives from the diet to reduce short-term costs.

• Evaluating whether dollars should be spent for silage crop inoculants.

• Determining if weaning calves earlier would save a significant amount of money.

• Observing signs of stress and depression among farm family members.

• Information on the status of dairy exports.

The briefs are authored by OSU Extension educators, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science specialists, and researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

The completed briefs, as well as future briefs, can be found at, or by contacting Dianne Shoemaker at (330) 263-3799 or


Candace Pollock
Dianne Shoemaker