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Effects of Different Organic Pastures on Dairy Heifer Growth and Development

Join eOrganic for the second webinar in our series about pasture mixes to improve the sustainability of pasture-based dairy production! The webinar takes place on February 20, 2020 at 11AM Pacific Time (12PM Mountain, 1PM Central, 2PM Eastern Time). The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.

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Raising dairy heifers in a certified organic setting can be difficult for producers. Traditionally, heifers are raised in a confined setting and fed a total mixed ration (TMR) that is balanced to contain all the needed nutrients for developing heifers. Organic producers can use a TMR in their operations, but due to high organic feed costs, many choose to raise their heifers in pasture-based systems. While pasture-based systems may lower costs, heifers on pasture commonly have lower rates of gain, which can be financially burdensome to producers.

Grass-legume pastures may help improve rates of gain in heifers on pasture-based systems. To address these challenges, researches at Utah State University, the University of Idaho and the USDA-ARS are working with Extension educators to determine if grass-legume mixed pastures can properly grow and develop dairy heifers. Jake Hadfield, of USU Extension will describe the effects that different organic pastures had on heifer growth and development.

About the Presenter

Jake Hadfield works for USU Extension in Cache County as the Agriculture Extension Agent. He was a major contributor on the dairy heifer organic grazing project as the graduate student monitoring the growth and development of dairy heifers. Jake was raised on a family beef operation in Utah, where he gained a passion for agriculture. That passion is what brought him to Utah State focusing his research on agriculture production systems. Jake and his wife, Jessie, live in Logan, Utah.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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