Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1995 Winner

Davie Dairy, Inc.
Okeechobee, Florida

Davie Dairy, Inc., is a 960-acre dairy in Okeechobee County. Its two milking facilities can accommodate 900 cows each, enabling the dairy to produce 12,500 gallons of milk daily. Davie Dairy was the first dairy in the Okeechobee watershed to construct a total confinement system for housing milk cows. The dairy accomplished this by departing from then current conventional practices and constructing the first free-stall milk herd confinement facility for the management of animal waste.

This project has demonstrated, at great financial risk to the dairy, that dairy herd confinement in South Florida can be successful when properly implemented. The project reduces pollution by eliminating a large non-point source runoff problem from intensively used pasture. This conversion to a manageable and treatable point source is accomplished through the concentration and collection of animal waste and a reduction in water volume used. Phosphorus loading on herd pastures has been reduced by an estimated 78 percent. The collected wastewater is either recycled for use in the barns, or the nutrients removed by vegetation prior to its discharge from the site. -- 1995


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