Organic Dairy Unit
Organic Dairy Unit
The College of Agriculture began producing organic milk in March 2007, a substantial achievement for CSU, Chico. Countless work hours from both students and faculty made this feat possible. An outdated facility was renovated and is once again operational. A number of reasons underlie taking the dairy unit at the University Farm in the direction of organic production.
Organic agriculture is growing at a tremendous rate with sales demand increasing over 30 percent annually (OTA 2006 Manufacturers Survey), and organic milk prices are considerably higher than conventional prices. The College of Agriculture instituted an organic dairy largely to demonstrate a profitable, sustainable alternative to the ‘status quo’ production model, thereby involving students in meaningful niche marketing, exposing students a new paradigm, and adapting our curriculum with agriculture as it evolves. The new organic dairy unit more importantly provides a hands-on, sustainable teaching and research facility. In addition to student education, the organic dairy unit will target the community and industry relative to applied research and extension of findings.
The Facility and Management Plan
Eight percent of the University Farm is dedicated to the organic dairy unit (45 acres of pasture and 40 acres of cropland). Jersey and Jersey-cross heifers were transitioned for organic milk production. Calving is seasonal, and pastures are intensively managed (pulse-grazed) to optimize plant productivity and milk production. A holistic herd health program is utilized, and plant and soil health are regularly monitored as part of an integrated management strategy.
Visit our Organic Dairy Unit Web site for more information
- What is Organic Dairy Production
- Transitioning Process
- Pasture Management
- Herd Health
- Milk Quality
- Case Studies