Maximize Nutrition from Grazing & Forages

February 21, 2019  |  10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  |  La Crosse, Wis.



Brad Heins, University of Minnesota West Central Research Center
Kevin Mahalko, Mahalko Dairy
Silvia Abel-Caines, DVM, Veterinarian


  • Nutritional demands of dairy cattle
  • Analyze forage samples
  • Quality stored forages
  • Managed grazing practices




With today’s disheartening dairy market, good management is crucial to survival. This powerhouse team will share strategies you can use to maximize profitability from your herd.

Veterinarian Dr. Silvia Abel-Caines specializes in ruminant nutrition for Organic Valley. Brad Heins teaches dairy management at the University of Minnesota-Morris, where the West Central Research Center manages both certified organic and non-organic dairy herds. Kevin Mahalko is an Organic Valley dairy grazier from Gilman, Wis. He is president of Grassworks, and teaches grazing management for River Country RC&D and the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program.

These experts will explain how to improve soil to promote lush forage and robust animals. They’ll also dig into the nutritional requirements of an entire herd, showing you how to grow and feed to keep your herd healthy both in the field and on top-quality forage stored for the non-grazing season.


Presenter bios:

Brad Heins is an Associate Professor of Dairy Management at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research Center in Morris, Minnesota. The Center has a 130-head herd in a certified organic system, and a 160-head herd in a conventional grazing system. His research and extension program focuses on best management practices for organic dairy production, management intensive grazing, supplementation strategies for dairy cattle, crossbreeding, group rearing of calves, and renewable energy for dairy production systems. He also serves on the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Board of Directors.



Kevin Mahalko is an Organic Dairy Grazier from Gilman WI. With his Family he grazes the dairy herd producing milk for the Organic Valley Grassmilk program. They dedicate much time to pasture raised cattle and youngstock and work to grow quality hay and managed forest on over 350 acres of owned and rented MOSA organic certified land. Kevin is active in the grazing community and serves as President of Grassworks. He is a Grazing Educator for River Country RC&D and West WI Education Coordinator for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program.



Silvia Abel-Caines is a Veterinarian with a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition. She is a certified grazing planner, and aims to address animal health and productivity through balanced nutrition and combines the technical training with the knowledge from experienced organic farmers from around the country and around the world. She resides in northwest Illinois, with her husband, 3 teenage children and a small flock of backyard chickens.





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