Interdisciplinary Research looks at Whole-Farm Sustainability
Posted: July 10, 2012
A recent graduate from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences holds a jar of pressed and filtered canola oil while standing by canola plants and the New Holland tractor that was converted to run on straight vegetable oil.
Penn State Live
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- College of Agricultural Sciences.
Begun in 2010, the Sustainable Dairy Cropping Systems research project involves researchers from several areas of expertise to examine dairy farm sustainability. It simulates a Pennsylvania dairy farm of 240 acres and 65 lactating cows, including young-stock, by growing crops on 12 acres of Penn State's Agronomy Research Farm at Rock Springs and using a computer program to model herd management.
Combining previous research conducted on a small scale into crop rotations at a farm-scale, the study takes a holistic approach to look at several components of a dairy farm. Various crops are grown for feed and energy use, yield and feed and forage quality are measured, and milk production for the farm's dairy cows is simulated with a computer model.
Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production and ecology and lead director of the project, said the goal is to design and identify management practices that will increase farm sustainability by minimizing off-farm inputs and reducing environmental impacts.
Read the full article on Penn State Live, the University's official News source.