In its most robust year yet, CDRF completed 11 research projects and science-based education and outreach programs in 2021. These included several research endeavors focused on methane mitigation; a nutritional study that sourced information from nearly 400 healthy Californians regarding their dairy intake habits and overall gut health; and a byproducts study which showed just how unique California dairy feeds are along with demonstrating the benefits of using up-cycled byproducts to producers, animals, and the environment.

Benefits of CA Dairies Using Byproducts as Feeds

Recently completed research explored the symbiotic relationship between California dairies and local crop producers that substantially reduces the waste from both industries and saves land and water resources for food production. Results of the authors’ survey of California dairies showed that 95% of respondents used byproducts in feed. California dairies feed cows a vast  range of products, including items like carrots, grape pomace, and brewers’ spent grains. More than 70 distinct byproducts were named, most of which are produced in California. 

With a ration share of approximately 38% of feed on California dairies, byproducts were found to be the largest feed category by cost and dry matter share, exceeding shares of silage, hay, or grains. Almond hulls, canola meal, cottonseed, and distiller grains are the top four major byproduct feeds as measured by dry matter. 

California-produced byproducts dominated the list of feeds and make up the majority of the byproduct dry matter fed in the state.

The overall findings showed that the inclusion of byproducts in dairy rations also allows a productive outlet for many materials that may otherwise be sent to landfills. For some products, the sale of byproducts is critical economically and environmentally. Utilization of byproducts by the dairy industry allows for the highest and best use of these crop products.

AMMP Funding is Available — Find Out How Other Producers Chose Their AMMP Project and How the Process Worked for Them!

Throughout the past two years, CDRF managed an outreach project funded by CDFA, and provided in collaboration with CDQAP, UC Davis, UC ANR and several California dairy producers and dairy industry experts. 

The purpose of this project was to create an outreach platform to inform dairy producers who are thinking of applying for manure management practices funding through California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) or are interested to understand the process of such programs. The project  produced an on-farm video series of webinars featuring real California dairy farmers discussing and demonstrating their alternative manure management practices and their experience applying for and being reimbursed through the Alternative Manure Management Practices Program (AMMP) offered by CDFA. Seven practices were discussed and evaluated, resulting in detailed information for each practice with tips and considerations of each, based on the direct feedback of producers who have already implemented each practice.  

With AMMP funding being available this year, this first-hand information for producers by producers is increasingly important. 

Advice was consistent regarding the application process and the preparation needed to successfully apply. Each producer (and other experts with experience in applying for and implementing an AMMP project) had a similar list of suggestions for successfully applying to the AMMP program: Start the application process as soon as possible; use expert guidance in completing the application (this may be available through consulting services and/or your farm advisor or co-op); have gap funding available for time periods between CDFA reimbursements; and consider that your initial construction bid may be different than the actual costs of your project due to the time period between the application submission date and the actual start date of your project.

 This AMMP Awareness and Outreach project and all available materials are available online at the CDQAP dedicated AMMP Outreach page.

Dairy Intake not Associated with Gastrointestinal Inflammation 

Reaching into the consumer and nutrition marketplace, our research must address misinformed claims made by the expanding milk-alternatives market, which has lead some consumers to perceive dairy as being pro-inflammatory and a cause of gastrointestinal discomfort. A recently completed CDRF-funded study put those assertions to the test.

 In 2018 the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center conducted an observational cross-sectional study of nearly 400 adult Californians to determine diet-health associations. The next year, with support funding from CDRF, the researchers extended the original study to measure additional and novel markers of gastrointestinal health and address hypotheses related specifically to dairy consumption. This three-year project not only successfully demonstrated that dairy intake is not associated with gastrointestinal inflammation but demonstrated that dairy has the potential to improve gastrointestinal health. The results demonstrate unequivocally that there is no association with total dairy intake, fluid milk intake, cheese intake, or yogurt intake with markers of gastrointestinal inflammation in a healthy Californian cohort. 

This information has been published as an abstract in Current Developments in Nutrition. Further, the data suggests that dairy intake, especially yogurt intake, has the potential to improve markers of gastrointestinal protection, although a clinical trial is needed to determine this. These research findings could be used to educate consumers, medical professionals and experts in the nutrition field and result in increased demand for dairy products, especially among consumers who have been doubtful about the effects of dairy products on gastrointestinal health.

For more information on CDRF projects: View our Annual Projects Report.

About the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF):
CDRF is an independent nonprofit public benefit foundation whose mission is to lead and deliver the best research and science-based educational and outreach programs to support an innovative and sustainable California dairy industry. CDRF’s major funder is the California Milk Advisory Board, though CDRF works in close collaboration with others in the dairy industry to leverage California dairy checkoff dollars with co-funding opportunities. For more information about CDRF and the research it supports, visit cdrf.org.