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Quantifying Water Use and Efficiency on Dairy Farms Throughout Michigan

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 Dallas, Texas, July 29 - August 1, 2012  121337856.(doi:10.13031/2013.42168)
Authors:   Kyle Liedel McLachlan, David E Holzwart, Louis L Faivor, Faith Cullens, Steven Safferman
Keywords:   Dairy Farm, Water Usage, Waste water, Milk Production

Water is one of our greatest natural recourses. Tourism, manufacturing, and agricultural industries all require an abundance of readily available fresh water. Fresh water is critical for the dairy industry. Understanding water usage on dairy farms is necessary for managers to make informed decisions aimed at improving efficiency and reducing waste. The objective of this paper is to examine existing sources of data on water usage at small and large dairy farms. Further, qualitative water practices at several farms in Michigan were examined. Data suggests that there is large variance in water usage for dairy operations regardless of productivity. From this study, it is evident that benchmarks that correlate water use with well managed dairy operations would be very helpful for farm managers to improve efficiency and conserve this precious natural resource.

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