Recent research from the University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms shows that forage-based livestock systems, including dairies, do a better job at reducing soil loss to surface water than farms without cattle.

The study compared soil losses on three Wisconsin dairies that had significant differences in slope, soil type and farm-management systems. On all three dairies, soil losses would double if the operation switched from a forage-based cropping system to a reduced-tillage corn and soybean crop rotation, says Dennis Frame, Discovery Farms director.

The data was shared at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin's Dairy Policy Summit last week.