Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural and Extension Education

Major Professor

Robert S. Dotson

Committee Members

Cecil Carter, Don O. Richardson, William M. Miller, Joe S. Alexander


Dairying annually ranks about fourth in importance as a source of income in Tennessee(19:1). Annual receipts averaged about 96 million dollars for the five year period 1962-1966 (22:25). There were approximately 373,000 dairy cows in Tennessee in 1966. Average milk production per cow in Tennessee that year was 5,800, while the average dairy cow in America produced 8,513 pounds (7:11). It has been suggested that production of less than 6,000 pounds per cow is unprofitable, and that cows producing below that amount should be considered for culling and possible replacement.

Lincoln County is located in the southern section of middle division Tennessee. It is bordered by Alabama to the south, Franklin County to the east, Moore, Bedford and Marshall to the north, and Giles County to the west. The Agriculture of the county is diversified with crops accounting for 39 percent, Livestock and Livestock Products 28 percent, and Dairy Products 27 percent. Therefore, according to the above figures, dairying ranks third in importance in agriculture income (8).

Lincoln County has long been known as one of the leading counties of middle Tennessee in the production of Grade A milk and milk for manufacturing purposes. Lincoln County ranks seventh in middle Tennessee in the value of dairy products sold. Total sales in 1964 were $2,139,662 (23).
The total number of farms in Lincoln County decreased from 2794 in 1959 to 2301 in in 1964, while the average size of farm increased from 116.8 acres in 1959 to 130.2 acres in 1964. The number of farms classes as dairy farms decreased from 375 in 1959 to to 315 in this same period. During this same period, the number of dairy cows decreased from 16,434 to 11,878, while the dollar value of milk sales increased 4.41 percent (23).

In 1966 there were in Lincoln County 85 Grade A producers selling milk to five different markets. Twenty of these producers belonged to the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (D.H.I.A.). Those producers on the D.H.I.A. increased their production per cow from an average of 8320 pounds of milk and 364 pounds of butterfat in 1966 to 8910 pounds of milk and and 371 pounds of butterfat in 1967 (14). The dairy situation in Lincoln County, therefore, presents a similar picture to that of the state and the nation in that the numbers of dairy farms and dairy cows have decreased as the production per cow has increased.
Some statewide milk production problems that have been identified include (4:27) : (1) There is a lack of adequate supply of quality feed; (2) too few dairymen are using artificial breeding; (3) most dairymen in Tennessee do not keep adequate records; (4) many housing and milking facilities are inadequate and/or inefficient; (5) mastitis continues to be a common disease in dairy herds throughout the state; and (6) the failure to control flies and other insects and the indiscriminate use of insecticides has been found to cause milk contamination problems, resulting in high bacterial counts.

The basis for the identification of the above problems was mainly that of observation by county and state Extension staff members. It was noted that further research was needed in selected counties to learn the characteristics of milk producers and try to ascertain which recommended production and management practices they were and were not using, and why they were or were not using them. Lincoln County was one of several Tennessee Counties participating in a statewide project under the guidance of the Agricultural Extension Training and Studies and Extension Dairy Departments of the University of Tennessee.

Based on findings of this and comparison studies, plans will be developed for use of teaching Grade A milk producers to be more efficient in the management of their herds.

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