Tools for monitoring behavior can help farmers address environmental and financial sustainability.

The cost of animal feed and animal health are two  of the most important factors in the sustainability of a farm operation.  Farmers need tools to assure that their livestock are getting the right results from the right nutrients, from both forage and feed.

Current methods to estimate forage intakes for grazing cattle on pasture-based dairy farms, including organic farms, are labor intensive and inaccurate. They generally do not provide sufficient information to allow producers to understand intake in real time, or to be able to respond rapidly to optimize productivity and profitability.

Real-Time Tools Make a Difference

Our aim to to help farmers have better access to tools to let them test the role of forage diversity (i.e. diversity of nutritious plants for their animals to eat) in pasture productivity, which will affect rumen activity, and milk composition as well.  By helping grass-based dairy farmers improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase net farm income, improved forage utilization and pasture management practices can also affect soil conservation, water quality, and increase ecological services of grass-based livestock production systems.

Project Team

Co-Principal Investigators:

Juan P. Alvez, Pasture Program Technical Coordinator, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 802-656-6116,

John Barlow, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 802-656-1395,

Jana Kraft, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 802-656-5489,

Joe Roman, Research Assistant Professor, Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources, Fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, 802-656-0517,


Interested in knowing more about the Center's work or do you have a question we haven't answered here?  Contact us via email or  802-656-5459 and we'll do our best to help.

Woodcut of a farm with people gathering produce and cows grazing


  • Help with a plan for grazing your livestock:  Kimberly Hagen at  802-656-3834
  • General inquiries and potential partnerships: Jenn Colby at 802-535-7606 or
  • Vermont Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program Education Coordinator Mary Ellen Franklin at
  • Pasture walks and other upcoming events: Colene Reed at
  • Help with your Connecticut River watershed farm, including nutrient management and other water quality-related issues: Laura Johnson at
  • Research questions or ideas: Juan Alvez at 802-656-6116 or
  • Include pasture-related events in online or email Pasture Calendars: Cheryl Herrick at

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Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education