Byproduct Trends and Opportunities for the California Dairy Industry

RESEARCHER: Jennifer Heguy, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources​

TIMELINE: January – December 2022

BACKGROUND: Byproduct feeding on California dairies is a widely adopted practice, though byproduct feeding rates vary greatly across the state. Opportunities to increase byproduct feeding rates in some operations may exist without detrimental effects on reproduction or production. Byproduct feeding is one potential measure to mitigate water use, land use, and feed costs while providing the fiber necessary to maintain rumen function, gut health, and productivity.

OBJECTIVE: Analyze byproduct feeding trends and strategies to determine where more outreach, information, or research is warranted to increase and better inform byproduct usage on dairies. Conduct case studies of dairies with high byproduct inclusion rates to demonstrate the dairy industry’s critical role in environmental stewardship for California. Strengthen the California dairy industry’s sustainability story. Highlight potential for increased inclusion rates of byproducts throughout the state.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: Potential to improve the cost-benefit of dairy cow rations; demonstrate how byproducts may partially replace forages to cope with water shortages; and highlight the sustainability stories of California dairy farms.