Connections Between Biodiversity and Livestock Well-Being

Join eOrganic for a webinar focused on research that is exploring the connections between biodiversity and livestock well-being. The webinar will take place on January 14, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain and 11 a.m. Pacific Time. The webinar is free and open to the public; advance registration is required.

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About the Webinar

Among organic and sustainable farmers, there is a belief that healthy ecosystems with minimally disturbed soils, adequate access to diverse, high quality forages, and clean water have a robust correlation with cows’ well-being and milk quality. However, there has been limited research on the relationships between changes in biodiversity, livestock health, and farm management and productivity. Therefore, in 2012, a University of Vermont research team began a multidisciplinary, long-term study to learn if managing farms for increased diversity at different “community” levels (from rumen microbes to forage composition) in Northeast pasture-based dairy production systems positively contributes to improved livestock well-being, health and productivity, and creates an ecological service feedback loop that benefits soil and natural resource diversity.

As part of the project, Dr. Juan Alvez has been conducting an on-farm study looking at tools to monitor grazing behavior, forage intakes, and rumen activity in real time. By evaluating these instruments by measuring outcomes related to soil biological composition, cattle health, and milk composition, the study seeks to determine whether these tools can help farmers better manage pasture resources. In this webinar, Juan will describe the overall project and its goals as well as research results to date.

About the Presenter

Dr. Juan Alvez is the Pasture Program Technical Coordinator at the University of Vermont (UVM) Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Juan grew up on a livestock farm in northern Uruguay and came to the U.S. to pursue his academic career. He received his Master of Science degree from the UVM Department of Plant and Soil Science and his PhD from the UVM School of Environment and Natural Resources where his dissertation focused on the relationships between sustainable farming and ecosystem functions and services, particularly with regard to grazing systems.

System Requirements

Please connect to the webinar 10 minutes in advance, as the webinar program will require you to download software. To test your connection in advance, go here. You can either listen via your computer speakers or call in by phone (toll call). Java needs to be installed and working on your computer to join the webinar. If you are running Mac OSU with Safari, please test your Java at prior to joining the webinar, and if it isn't working, try Firefox or Chrome. Find more detailed system requirements here.

Created by Alice Formiga