Grazing dairy farmers have long noticed the health benefits of turning cows out to spring grass. Some even call it "Dr. Green." The reasons for these health benefits are complex but is largely due to the function of the rumen on living plant material. Feeding barley fodder or sprouts is another way to get a living plant material into the rumen, even in the winter. Barley fodder can have the nutrient density of grains without the detrimental aspects of starch.
Organic dairy farmer John Stoltzfus has worked over the past few years to perfect his method of growing barley fodder on his New York farm. In this webinar, John and Cornell's Fay Benson will discuss the benefits and challenges of growing and feeding fodder to dairy animals. Other animals (from horses to chickens) also have benefited from the practice and their owners may be able to adopt the principles addressed in this webinar.
This webinar was presented on November 27, 2012.
Fay Benson is the project manager of New York's Organic Dairy Initiative and small dairy support specialist with Cornell University's Small Farm Team. Fay has been working with grazing and organic dairy farmers for 10 years and also operated his own dairy farm for more than 20 years.
John Stoltzfus and his wife, Tammy, operate their certified organic dairy farm in Whitesville, NY. Since he began feeding sprouted barley, John has eliminated the grain ration from his 40-head herd’s diet.
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This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.