Precision Agriculture in the Dairy Industry

Chuck ZimmermanDairy

Bright Lights, Big ShowThis week a couple of your editors will be attending the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. We’re hoping to learn a little bit about the application of precision agriculture in the dairy industry.

In preparation I did a little looking around on Google and found out about a just-concluded (I assume) USDA Ag Research Service project titled, “Quantifying Environmental Benefits from Precision Agriculture.” This project has as its objectives:

(1) Develop new and innovative methodologies to quantify the environmental benefit derived from implementing existing best management practices or new precision agriculture best management practices for minimizing offsite impacts, such as trace gas production from crop and grazinglands, wind and water erosion, and water quality impacts. (2) Quantitatively evaluate the “greenness index” developed by DigitalGlobe as a rapid and accurate method to evaluate the forage productivity and crop yield, quality of the forage, and the emission of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide.

I’m not sure where that’s all going but they are studying precision agriculture specifically in forage production. It doesn’t look as if the final report is out since the project just ended but they do have annual reports available online.