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Abstract

Agriculture production plays an integral role in the regional economy. However, the Ogallala Aquifer that supports the intensive irrigated agriculture and livestock operations is waning rapidly, which raises alarm for future sustainability of agriculture in the area. The main objective of the present study is to evaluate the effect of forage quality of corn and sorghum silage on milk yield per ton of silage dry matter. The traditional quantitative analysis and the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) are used. The DEA approach takes into account the comparative production efficiency analysis of corn and sorghum silage. The results revealed that there is a 16% more milk yield from corn silage due to better forage quality than sorghum silage. However, it is economically more profitable to feed dairy the sorghum silage. Improvement in crude protein, in-vitro true digestibility and starch content of sorghum silage will increase milk production per ton of forage dry matter. Considering both global and local concerns on water scarcity coupled with unpredictable climate changes, it is economically prudent to consider sorghum silage. Education on the true value of sorghum silage to the dairy industry can reduce silage production cost and save more water for future use in the Texas High Plains.

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