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A monthly newsletter to an email list of over 7,000 producers, agriservice and legislators. This list is also used for program, webinar and forage management updates.

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Presentations and manuscripts from several PRO-DAIRY conferences are available in PDF format and for purchase in hard-copy format.

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All newly created PDFs and videos on this website are accessible. To request an accommodation to access a PDF or video contact calswebaccessibility [at] cornell.edu for assistance. In your message include the website address or URL of the material you would like to access and the specific problems you have encountered.

March 2021

Short on hay this spring?


A number of livestock producers are reporting short hay inventories coming into the spring and, while the warmth of the sun has us optimistic that winter will soon be behind us, the 2021 crop season is still a ways off. Strategies to deal with potential forage shortages started last fall with farms reducing animal numbers, extending grazing as long into the fall as possible, and planting winter cereal grains for spring forage. But what about additional strategies for this spring?


March 2021

Close call on Finger Lakes dairy farm is a reminder of hydrogen sulfide gas concerns around manure storages

Hydrogen Sulfide is a well-documented and extremely dangerous gas that can be found in manure storages and is a byproduct of bacterial breakdown of organic compounds inside a manure storage. It is heavier than air and can concentrate low to the ground or in confined spaces. Any extra source of sulfur on farm has the potential to increase hydrogen sulfide gas production once it reaches the manure storage. Farms that use gypsum based bedding and anti-slip agents have increased risk of hydrogen sulfide gas production.

An incident occurred on a gypsum-using farm in the Finger Lakes region in late fall 2020. A dairy farmer was flushing out gravity flow gutters inside the barn, using recycled manure from the storage. The farm owner was holding the hose at the top end of the gutters while two small children were playing at the bottom end of the gravity gutters, where hydrogen sulfide gas was concentrating. One of the children told their father her friend was sleeping and wouldn’t wake up. The farm owner quickly realized the danger of the situation and picked up the limp child to take her to fresh air. Luckily the child revived and is well, so a good ending to what was very close to a lethal situation.

January 2021

Dairy Environmental Systems issues fact sheets
For those thinking about exploring advanced manure treatment, a four-part fact sheet series is available:


A fact sheet describing basic manure characteristics, including composition and phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium characteristics, has also been posted.

A new case study is available that describes the persistence and decay of antibiotic residuals and antibiotic resistance genes through a dairy manure treatment system consisting of a solid-liquid separator and a rotary drum composter/BRU (bedding recovery unit).

PRO-DAIRY receives three grants to evaluate use of digesters on farms

December 15, 2020

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy set new environmental stewardship goals to move dairy farmers and the dairy industry towards sustainability, with target stewardship goals for 2050 and a promise to measure progress every five years. One of the goals is to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy products to become carbon neutral or better over the whole dairy food chain from farm to consumer.

Monetizing electricity produced by farm-based anaerobic digestion
in New York

October 22, 2020

PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental Systems has produced a fact sheet series that summarizes the options for monetizing electricity produced by farm-based anaerobic digester (AD) systems in New York. The series walks through the current New York State electricity generation tariffs that apply to manure and co-digestion AD systems, both new and existing, compares the value of each and identifies the eligibility guidelines.

Thinking about topdressing alfalfa? Some things you should know: 2020 may be a good year to economize

May 29, 2020

With hay now being harvested, farmers are turning to topdress decisions. Looking back at research conducted at the Cornell Musgrave Research Farm, alfalfa growing on silt loam soils with regular manure application during corn years prior to alfalfa seeding did not respond to topdress potassium.

Fertilizer Value of Milk

April 16, 2020

Significant quantities of surplus milk from NY’s dairy industry may have to be land applied in the coming weeks due to unprecedented market disruptions created by the COVID-19 emergency. Milk has fertilizer value and crop farms may be able to take advantage of surplus milk for a portion of crop fertilization needs, especially if located near one or more dairies.

Using Surplus Milk as Fertilizer

April 10, 2020

Given the current market disruptions created by the COVID-19 emergency, farms may continue to play important roles in the safe, agronomic, and environmentally sound recycling of surplus milk.

Processors and Farmers: These are unprecedented times and we should be aware of a range of possibilities, including changes in milk demand

March 31, 2020

While we hope that milk demand remains strong, should the situation change resulting in a surplus, farmers and handlers should review the items below to make sure surplus milk is managed appropriately.

NYSDEC – Division of Water has not provided any general relief from SPDES permit and regulatory requirements

March 26, 2020

Permittees need to continue to strive for permit and regulatory compliance.

Interim guidance for animal care operations

March 23, 2020

Interim guidance for animal care operations release from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on March 22, 2020.

COVID-19 and Your Dairy webinar: Steps that dairy managers should consider to protect their workforce, their business and their markets

March 18, 2020

This webinar was led by Richard Stup, Ph.D., Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, and Rob Lynch, D.V.M., Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY. It covered: Why prevention of the coronavirus/COVID-19 is important, steps that employers should take to protect employees, animal health considerations, what to do if service providers are not available, disaster contingency plans, cross-training of employees who can fill other roles, business resources for employers, and pending federal and state legislation related to coronavirus and employees.

Novel coronavirus prevention and control for farms

March 13, 2020

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has tips for employers regarding novel coronavirus prevention and control on farms.

Publication series