Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: October 9, 2006
Contact: Dr. Bill Stone, Cornell University, 607-255-0136;
Frans J. Vokey, CCE Lewis County, 315-376-5270

NNY Farm Study to Identify Factors for Producing Higher Milk Premiums

Milk components, namely milk protein and fat, bring dairy farmers a premium price. Farmers in Northern New York, however, may be producing lower percentages of milk components, resulting in lower income for their milk. A Northern New York Agricultural Development Program grant is funding a study by Cornell University to evaluate a diverse set of factors that impact the production of milk components on farms in NNY�s six northernmost counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence.

Cornell researchers Dr. Bill Stone, DVM, and Dr. Larry Chase; Extension educators; dairy nutritionists and farm consultants will work with farmers in each of the six NNY counties to collect data on various aspects of dairy herd health, production practices, and production practices to determine the influence of various factors on milk components.

�Our plan is to characterize the cows, nutrition and management of the region�s herds with both high and low levels of milk components. Our objective is to identify the factors that have the greatest influence on component production so farmers can adjust their practices to increase the component production and premiums,� says Stone, a senior extension associate with Cornell�s PRO-Dairy Program.

This project builds on a survey that indicates that the percentages of milk components are slightly lower in Northern New York than in other regions of the state. Numerous factors can influence the amount and level of milk components. The research team will collect data on cow rumination, lameness, rations, forages, and bunk management. Bulk tank milk samples will be tested for components and fatty acid profile. Researchers will also be evaluating how seasonal variations affect components.

In a report prepared for the North Country Dairy Viability Initiative, Dr. Mark Stephenson of Cornell University�s Program on Dairy Markets and Policy graded Northern New York with a C for management for milk components and noted that improved management can result in higher premiums for regional farmers. The analysis of Dairy Farm Business Summaries and 218 milk checks from 181 NNY farms showed Northern New York farmers consistently received the lowest premiums for milk components, with a $2.50 range of difference in values paid. Stephenson noted that market premiums for the month of August 2004 averaged 32 cents of every 64 cents of all premiums paid and were related to the location of the farm.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-led program that funds research and extension outreach for Essex, Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. For more information, go online to www.nnyagdev.org.
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