"Crops to Cow" Program to Examine Cropping Strategies for Maximum Profitability

Posted: September 26, 2014

Penn State Extension Dairy Team offers producer program on November 11 that explains crucial role cropping plays in the dairy operation.

Decisions made on cropping strategies have significant implications to animal performance. The Penn State Extension Dairy Team is hosting a "Crops to Cow" program on November 11 at the Holiday Inn, Grantville, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help dairy producers understand cropping as one of the crucial parts of the intricate dairy operation "system."

This program will help producers understand cropping strategies and the connection with feed management, taking into consideration outward pressures affecting the system including market volatility of milk and feed prices to environmental issues including water and air quality.

The program is being offered on the day preceding the popular Dairy Cattle Nutrition  Workshop, November 12 and 13.Cost for the one-day cropping program is $50 and registration deadline is November 3.


Extension Specialist Virginia Ishler said, "This program will demonstrate how cropping strategies and the connection with feed management can ultimately be a win-win situation for profitability and improving the environment. The whole farm profitability is impacted by cropping decisions which affect a cow's performance."

The morning session will feature:

* Dr. Heather Karsten, Associate Professor of Crop Production/Ecology - "Sustainability of various cropping strategies and rotations - What have we learned?"

*  Tim Fritz, Forage Agronomist/Owner/General Manager of King's AgriSeeds - "Which alternative forage source is right for you?"

* Paul Sirois, Director of Forage Lab Services for the Forage and Equi-Analytical Laboratories at Dairy One - "Byproducts, nutrient variation, and feeding for success."

* Dan Ludwig, USDA-NRCS PA Feed Management Specialist - "Updates to Pennsylvania's feed management program."

Two breakout sessions in the afternoon will allow interactive discussions and hands-on activities with various specialists, including:

Session 1:

* Cropping system strategies for quality forage and feed production with reduced off-farm nutrient inputs - Dr. Doug Beegle

* How to start incorporating alternative forages into your rotation - Tim Fritz

* Does forage quality impact profitability and, if so, by how much - Tim Beck, extension educator, and Virginia Ishler

* Interpreting a forage analysis report and how to use that information - Mat Haan, extension educator and Gene Schurman, retired extension educator

Session two:

* Crops, soils and nutrients - strategies to get more from your land - Dan Ludwig

* Developing action plans for feed management implementation - Virginia Ishler

* Cropping system strategies to manage weeds and pests - Drs. William Curran and John Tooker

* Farm Bill MPP-Dairy: How to select coverage using the online tool and case farm examples- Heather Weeks, extension educator

For more information on the program and to register go to: Contact Virginia Ishler at or 814-863-3912 with questions.