Sustainable Dairy Production Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Sheffield, R.E., LeBlanc, B., Moreira, V.R., Twidwell, E.

The dairy industry is one of the most important animal industries in Louisiana, contributing more than $199 million to the state’s economy in 2007. Although dairy farms are located in 16 parishes, the area made up of Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Helena parishes has the largest concentration of dairy farms. Another area of high concentration is DeSoto Parish. Dairying, by its nature, requires specific practices to conserve and protect soil and water resources. Best management practices (BMPs) have been determined to be an effective and practical means of reducing point- and nonpoint-source water pollutants at levels compatible with environmental quality goals. The primary purpose for implementation of BMPs is to conserve and protect soil, water and air resources. BMPs for dairy farms are a specific set of practices used by farmers to reduce the amount of soil, nutrients, pesticides and microbial contaminants entering surface water and groundwater while maintaining or improving the productivity of agricultural land. This list of BMPs is a guide for the selection and implementation of those practices that will help dairy farmers to conserve soil and protect water and air resources by reducing pollutants from reaching both surface water and groundwater.