The call of the mud

CE-MR-3-Call-of-the-mud21by Troy Bishopp

DEANSBORO, NY — Jack London said in his classic novel, The Call of the Wild, “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life.”

The 2015 Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest held at MKJ Farm in Deansboro invoked a similar joy as runners powered their way through ice-encrusted water obstacles, muddy hills and grueling physical endurance on their way to the finish line in honor of a little boy’s life who tragically will never see a mud puddle again. [Read more…]

The superstition mountains of GMOs

CE-MR-1-GMO_04561by Steve Wagner

Changing Food Trends was the theme of the 137th PennAg Annual Meeting and it asked the question on the front page of the program “do consumers drive the agricultural marketplace?” Penn State’s Ross Pifer was one of the answerers. Pifer, who is with the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center’s Rural Economic Development Clinic, pointed out many of the ifs, ands or buts with regard to how various states are handling some of the thornier issues. Pifer is specifically addressing mandatory GMO labeling. Fifteen years ago, the New York Times ran an op-art illustration of what the supermarket offering of GMO foods might look like in the future. Among the items were odorless fish ($5.99/lb.), rectangular zucchini (for easier cooking on the grill), and Viagra peas for 99 cents. (Don’t ask.) But since public perceptions of GMOs still runs against them, largely mountains of superstition and misinformation, Pifer focused on a specific argument using tomatoes as an example, and also how some states are managing labeling of GMO products, and also with legal developments. [Read more…]

Identifying mastitis

CDM-MR-2-MASTITIS_3601by Steve Wagner

Mastitis is the most common disease affecting dairy cattle. “Preventing mastitis is certainly important but identifying it is equally important,” said Ernest Hovingh, DVM/PhD, a highly visible presence at ag gatherings, he averages about 100 presentations a year, often more. His original topic at the 2015 Lebanon Dairy & Crops Compliance Day was ‘Objectively Investigating Milk Quality Issues’, but mastitis took front and center. After identifying mastitis, he says, “it must be properly managed.” Hovingh opened with a Socratic questioning method, wanting to know from attendees if they could tell from varied slides “whether or not this cow has mastitis”; if not, what could it be? [Read more…]

Italian and annual ryegrasses in northern cropping systems

CN-MR-1-ITALIAN-RYEGRASS1-6171by Daniel Hudson, UVM Extension Agronomist

Annual and Italian ryegrass have recently received more attention from farmers, university researchers, and the agricultural industry. Primary uses for this crop include: annual haylage crop, companion crop for new seedings of perennial forages (instead of oats), cover cropping, pasture enhancement, and erosion control. Under good management, ryegrass forage yield and quality are typically very impressive. Like most tools, if used properly it can be very profitable; if used improperly, this species can cause economic damage. Because of the similarities and between these grasses, the term ‘ryegrass’ will be used for in the remainder of this article unless important functional distinctions are being made. [Read more…]