Minutes from death

CM-MR-1- Minutes From deathby Steven E. Smith

This account from an anonymous New York dairy farmer about his experience of being mauled by a bull within inches of his life is a startling reminder of the dangers of working with bulls and other livestock.

“I awoke to the sounds of beeps and sterile smell of an unfamiliar setting. This was not my home nor anywhere familiar on my farm. I rolled back my lips then swallowed, realizing I had a really sore throat likely caused by the feeding tube which was a part of the three-week long induced comma I later learned I was in. [Read more…]

Having trouble with invasives? Try goats as your extractor

CN-MR-3-TroubleWithInvasives2by Laura Rodley

Rosa Multiflora, European Buckthorn, honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry — invasives, all. And goats find them delicious.

A herd of 18 goats was introduced at Pine Cobble School, in Williamstown, MA, as part of their newly instated Goats in the Woods Project (GIW). The project is devoted to introducing meat goats into wooded areas to eat invasives as a source of forest management called agroforestry. Another goal is to help teach kids where food originates. [Read more…]

Manure to energy

CEW-MR-2-ManuretoEnergy1bwby Steve Wagner

In 1966, when I was an Army Reservist, I had a two-week summer camp in Fort Shelby, MS. Not far from there was Gulfport, a resort town on the Gulf of Mexico, where I swore I would live one day. A bit north of Gulfport is a town called Prentiss, where five years ago John Logan, a chicken farmer, concluded that the fecal matter from his 275,000 chickens was putting too much phosphorus into his groundwater, which ran into the Gulf. He solved the problem by purchasing a manure digester.

A Snyder County, Pennsylvania farmer, Mac Curtis, shared Logan’s problem at about the same time — only his problem was turkeys. Curtis’s Windview acreage rests atop a hill and the river flows directly past his property. Needless to say, Curtis didn’t want turkey scat polluting those waters, which flowed into the Chesapeake Bay. Instead of a digester, Curtis solved his problem with a manure burner. [Read more…]

Poisonous plants: those that are and those that can become

CM-CN-MR-2-PoisonousPlantsby George Looby, DVM

Now the snow is gone, and most of us are waiting impatiently for spring to arrive. The first harbingers of the season have blossomed, but for every group of early bloomers there are a few plants that pose potential threats to livestock and pets. After a winter on dry forage and silage, the natural inclination of animals turned out to pasture is to seek out greenery. Unfortunately, all that is green is not healthy, nutritious or beneficial. [Read more…]