College - Author 1

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Department - Author 1

Dairy Science Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Dairy Science



Primary Advisor

Leanne Berning


The dairy industry in California has two very vital sectors that make up the production and marketing landscape: Organic and Conventional dairy production systems. The objective of this review of literature is to explore the differences and contrasting views of milk quality, reproduction, animal health, nutrition, market aspects and pricing systems within each industry and determine how each industry has the potential for tremendous success among its producers. It is important to understand the aspects of each industry because of the advantages and disadvantages each industry imposes on different producers located all around the state. Organic production systems have very detailed requirements and guidelines, set in place by the United States Department of Agriculture, that greatly differ from conventional dairy farming practices and organic systems must comply with these guidelines in order to legally produce and ship organic milk. Milk quality reviews and investigation entails that conventional operations produce a greater milk yield per cow as well as higher fat and solids testing because of the utilization of diversified commodities in total mixed rations. Animal health studies have revealed that organic dairies have less of an occurrence of clinical mastitis cases than do conventional dairies but have the potential to have a greater occurrence of metabolic diseases because of the struggle organic dairy farms have with maintaining a positive energy balance after calving into early lactation. Rations in both organic and conventional production systems utilize different resources such as grass and diversification of concentrates, respectively, to maximize milk production and health. Recent innovations in nutrition and diet formulations have been researched in order to utilize the alternative technologies this industry has to offer. The demand for organic milk has been met in recent years and its consumer base for the high priced products have been established for individuals who are of higher education and have a higher income bracket than are those of conventional milk product purchasers. The economics of owning and operating a conventional or organic operation share advantages and disadvantages in production costs and efficiency and profit maximization by using new technologies. The prices for milk and feed in the organic industry both greatly surpass prices in the conventional industry but that does not mean the profit margin in organic dairy farming is larger than in conventional dairy farming; budgeting and management practices need to be monitored and well executed in both in order to have a profitable business. Overall both industries have the potential to be very profitable but this is only possible by executing farming practices efficiently and with the correct use of available resources. Both industries will not be the best, most profitable option for every producer, this literature review allows producers and individuals to see the industry differences and that both have great potential.

Included in

Dairy Science Commons