University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Research Project

Enhancing Research and Education for Grass Farmers

Belted Galloway cows grazed through late December

Belted Galloway cows grazed through late December. Photo: Jenny Brown

Project Scope

In collaboration with Philo Ridge Farm, the Center for Sustainable Agriculture started a new program to test pasture-based practices to enhance research and education for grass farmers.

Our main goal is to monitor and research soil health and pasture forage as they relate to the production of high quality grass-fed, grass-finished beef.

Information from research conducted on the farm, and data generated from the research, will have broad application to farms throughout the region, and will be considered open-source information to be shared and distributed widely to producers in Vermont and New England. Due to its proximity and availability of farmland that can be utilized for research, Philo Ridge Farm (located in Charlotte, Vermont), will serve as a living workshop lab to explore new research ideas.

Research topics will include:

  • Cocktail forage cover crops for soil health and compaction alleviation in clay soils
  • Bedded pack contributions to soil quality
  • Forage production and quality of forage cocktail cover crops
  • Forage production and quality under irrigation
  • Forage production and quality at different shade stages
  • Performance and quality on diverse pastures: (production of humanely raised, high quality grass-fed, grass-finished beef)
  • Animal well-being benefits of "living barns"

Activities for 2017

Workshops and pasture walks on forage cocktail cover crops, bedded packs, grass-fed beef production.

Research Team