Our research program at Miner Institute strives to be cutting-edge with direct industry applicability. Although the research program at Miner Institute is wide in scope, our primary research areas are:
Whether focused on forage digestibility, stallion semen freezability, calf growth, transition cow performance, or manure management, all research conducted at Miner Institute is relevant and directly applicable to contemporary agriculture. Miner Institute’s specific research expertise in the crop-animal-environment interface, together with our high performing dairy farm, allows us to better serve dairy farmers. We view the crop-animal interface as the key to the sustainability of the dairy industry due to its impact on environmental and societal concerns about excess nitrogen and phosphorus produced on farms. Our animal behavior research addresses high priority well-being concerns such as overcrowding, grouping strategy, and heat stress abatement.
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 farm stewardship practices.
Miner Institute staff actively publish articles in refereed journals, including Animal Feed Science and Technology, Journal of Dairy Science, and Crop Science. In addition, staff present research findings annually at national meetings including: the American Dairy Science Association, 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.
A long-time focus of our dairy research activities has been dairy cattle nutrition, with an emphasis on the transition cow and forages. Animal behavior and cow comfort are another research focus. 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 feed intake, rumen cannulated cows, or more intensive measures are conducted in our 16-cow tie stall barn or in our freestall barns using Calan bins or replicated pens.
Research is conducted to improve forage quality through:
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 Institute has to do with equine nutrition and reproduction. Studies are being conducted with Miner Institute's Morgan horses to explore varying levels of carbohydrates and vitamins 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.