EAST LANSING, Mich. As human populations increase and available arable land decreases, agricultural systems are under pressure to produce more food more efficiently.
Michigan State University researchers believe that breeding dairy cows that produce milk with less feed can help meet this goal.
"We already know how to get cows to produce more than 100 pounds of milk a day we have the science to be able to do that," said Mike VandeHaar, animal science professor and MSU AgBioResearch faculty member. "Our question now is whether some cows are genetically predisposed to produce that milk with less feed. If we find that feed efficiency is inherent in a cow's DNA, it will improve our ability to sustainably produce the milk and dairy products that our growing population consumes."
Through a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, VandeHaar and his fellow MSU researchers have set goals to increase the efficiency and sustainability of milk production by:
"We are excited about this USDA grant program," VandeHaar said. "Improving stewardship of resources in the dairy industry has been a lifelong passion of mine. If we're going to eat animal products and feed more people, we have to do it more efficiently."
The goal is not just increasing the amount of milk a cow produces, but increasing efficiency
|Contact: Layne Cameron|
Michigan State University