The primary objectives of the research program continue to be: relevance and cutting-edge, direct applicability. Although the research conducted at Miner Institute is wide in scope, these major objectives have been followed. Whether in the area of corn hybrid digestibility, stallion semen freezability, calf growth, transition cow performance, or manure management, all research conducted at Miner Institute is relevant and directly applicable to today’s agriculture. Miner Institute’s expertise in the area of the crop-animal-environment interface, along with our strong base built on communication between agronomist and nutritionist, allows us to better serve dairy farmers. The crop-animal interface is also seen as the key to the sustainability of the dairy industry due to its impact on environmental concerns about excess nitrogen and phosphorus produced on farms.
Primary Research Areas:
- Forage Management
- Soil Fertility Management
- Water Quality
The Miner Institute Laboratory Complex plays an integral role in supporting and directing the research activities. The forage laboratory is active in improving the understanding of forage quality and the means of producing quality forages in the Northeast to benefit dairy animal health and production. The environmental laboratory focuses on evaluating the environmental impact of dairy management practices. These activities include maintaining, monitoring, and modeling various ecological systems through the use of Miner Institute’s silage effluent leachate collection systems and the installation of water-control structures to monitor nutrient movement in tile drained fields. Through collaboration between the forage and environmental laboratories, research is being conducted that will enhance stewardship practices.
Miner Institute staff actively publish articles in refereed journals, including Animal Feed Science and Technology, Journal of Dairy Science, and Journal of Animal Science. In addition, staff present research findings annually at national meetings including: the American Dairy Science Association, American Society of Animal Science, International Society for Applied Ethology, Plants and Soils Conference, Geological Society of America, American Crop Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, and Soil Science Society of America.
Miner Institute Annual Reports
One focus of the dairy research activities has been in the area of dairy cattle nutrition, with an emphasis on the transition cow. Animal behavior and cow comfort are other focal points of research. The development of a network of collaborative commercial dairy farms has enabled Miner Institute to create a unique niche in the world of dairy nutrition research. Controlled research can be conducted on these large dairies (350-1,000 milking cows). Intensive studies that require individual intakes, cannulated cows, or multiple treatments are conducted in our 16-cow tie stall barn or in our freestall barn using Calan bins or replicated pens.
Research is conducted to improve forage quality through:
- Hybrid selection
- Modified storage techniques
- Timing of harvest
Recycling nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus reduces the need to apply fertilizer. Research is conducted to evaluate techniques that optimize nutrient integration and retention in soils. This maximizes yields and protects our natural resources.
The majority of the equine research conducted at Miner has to do with equine nutrition and reproduction. Studies are being conducted with Miner Institute's Morgan horses to explore varying levels of carbohydrates in diets and the impact on horse health. Reproductive research has focused on improving techniques for preserving stallion semen and developing technologies for in-vitro fertilization.