The Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Pasture Dairy Center provides an excellent venue for conducting research on the integration of ecological, social and economic principles important for sustainable agriculture. Current areas of research at the Pasture Dairy Center include the following;
A research team led by Dr. Jade Mitchell is investigating the fate and transport of antimicrobial resistance in agricultural lands and scrutinize the effects of certain management practices in mitigating the delivery of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes to the environment.
Bovine Leukemia Virus
The Pasture Dairy Center is participating in a field trial focusing on the reduction of Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) in dairy herds throughout the United States. A team of researchers from Michigan State University are leading this effort, and more information can be found on the BLV USA websiteor read through a recent article published by MSU AgBioResearch.
KBS is using a noninvasive, real-time head chamber system to collect data on animal gas emissions. Information is used to compare enteric methane and carbon dioxide emissions in grazing dairy herds. This research is part of a larger project focusing on the life cycle analysis of dairy cattle and climate change. Continued research will address improving feed efficiency and the carbon footprint associated with pasture dairy farms.
The forage base at the Pasture Dairy Center consists primarily of perennial mixtures. Yet, these perennial mixtures exhibit variable growth rates throughout the year, leading to forage deficits at critical times, such as mid summer and late fall. Research efforts are targeting annual forages as supplements during these times of forage deficiency, including evaluation of species, varieties, intercropping and doublecropping strategies, and economic evaluation of suitability.
Forage research looks at the nutritional base that maintains digestive function, improves animal health, and provides nutrients to the cow in a cost-effective manner. This research will help in developing management practices that balance milk production, costs, and long‐term sustainability.
Pasture and Grazing Systems
Current research focuses on pasture management for forage quality and long-term pasture health, thus ensuring the quality and quantity of forage and dry matter available both now and during the next grazing season. Other research examines what combinations of plant species influence the quality and capacity of pastures.
Our research examines Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) also known as robotic milking. This includes the investigation of differing dairy structures and the effects of stocking rates on whole system performance, milk production efficiency, and the environmental impacts in pasture-based farms. In addition, the AMS collects information on milk quantity, quality, and cow health.