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Tools Offered to Help Dairy Farmers Transition to Grazing
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/13/2022

Farmers who are considering a move to grazing for their dairy cattle can now check out the newly debuted 'Heifer Grazing Compass,' which is a spreadsheet tool designed to help predict and understand the cash flow and long-term financial outcomes of deciding to raise heifers on pasture. Developed by the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Grassland 2.0 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the electronic resources helps compare the total economic implications of a farmer's existing system with a potential pasture-based heifer raising system.

"This compass is a 'what if?' decision support tool for service providers assisting heifer-focused pasture conversions, dairy farmers, or any farmers interested in starting a dairy heifer enterprise," said Connor Mulholland, a research intern in the UW-Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Mulholland is one of the tool's creators along with Bradford Barham, professor of agricultural and applied economics, John Hendrickson, CIAS outreach program coordinator, and Jim Munsch, a beef grazing farmer.

The tool helps farmers lay out a pasture plan, considering both a financial and ecological strategy. One feature of the compass allows users to compare heifer-raising systems while keeping animal growth and development outcomes constant. The compass is site- and operation-specific. It is tailored toward Wisconsin farmers, but still has great utility throughout the United States.

Download the Heifer Grazing Compass for free at https://grasslandag.org/the-heifer-grazing-compass


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