Plant of the Week
Latin: Iris reticulata
Milk and dairy beef sales total $100 million per year from approximately 420 dairy herds with 40,000 head of milk cows. The Extension Service provides research-based information to producers and industry personnel to help them be more competitive in an increasingly competitive market.
Environmental regulations and the ability to comply with them is a primary concern of producers. Waste management is emphasized in dairy Extension programs.
Since Arkansas and neighboring states normally rank in the bottom few states in the U.S. for production per cow, emphasis is also placed on improving efficiency of production. Forage quality and usage, improved herd management, financial record-keeping (including Dairy Herd Improvement Association records), ration-balancing, and cow comfort, including heat-stress management, are a few subjects addressed by Extension. Sire selection and reproduction are also stressed because the genetic levels of the herd and overall fertility have marked effects on net profit of the herd.
The state of the U.S. and international dairy industry may see changes that are even more dramatic in the future. The ongoing reorganization of federal milk marketing orders and shifts in milk production areas within the U.S. make Extension educational efforts even more critical to improving efficiency of milk production for both dairy producers and consumers.