About 200 lucky milk cows have many people, including University of Georgia scientists, dedicated to looking after their every creature comfort at the Center for Research on Environment and Milk Yield in Tifton, Ga.
"Georgia dairymen are as smart and hard-working as anywhere in the nation," said Charles Murphy, director of the dairy division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. "But because of the heat and humidity here in Georgia, they've also got to deal with the highest cost of production in the nation."
Research at CREMY will help Georgia dairymen become more efficient and help keep them in business. Murphy noted that in the past five years, 29 percent of Georgia dairy farms have closed their barn doors for good.
Sumter County dairyman Lamar Anthony said he and other operators look to research to help them make decisions. "It's not so much we want them to tell us what to do. We're looking more for what NOT to do."
Scientists with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will study forage quality, heat stress and environmental uses for dairy waste.
Joe West, an Extension Service dairy scientist, will focus his attention on heat stress and its effect on milk production. "The dairy industry has a $750 million-plus impact on Georgia's economy," he said. "But dairies rely on our research to keep them in business. CREMY will provide that vital information."
High-res photo available here
|WONDERING ABOUT THE COMMOTIONÿ Cow #4619 at the UGA CREMY dairy peeks under another cow as she waits to be milked in state-of-the-art facilities. In the foreground is the automatic milking machine.|
Murphy said compacts and reforms alone can't save the dairy industry. "The key to long-term sustainability is right here B state-of-the-art research facilities."
The CREMY facility was dedicated at a special ceremony on April 13. Research began at the facility in November 1998. The milking parlor is designed for improved labor efficiency and enhanced data collection capabilities through the use of electronic cow identification, automated milk weighing and body temperature measurement.