Mapleline Farm

CN-MR-3-Mapleline129xby Laura Rodley

Two things yellow play a big part at Mapleline Farm: the sunshine that is harvested for electricity, and the high butterfat in milk from their 112 Jerseys, plus a few Ayrshires. Green plays a huge part, too — it is found in the fields the cows graze, and in the many jobs the farm provides.

“We have a bunch of heifers due to calve in December,” said Paul Kokoski, a fifth-generation farmer and milk processing plant manager of the Hadley, MA operation. By Jan. 1, they expect 130 milking cows. Prized for their high butter fat, Jerseys’ other non-fat solids, like protein, also rank higher than other breeds. Jerseys are the most efficient cow based on the amount of feed you put in for the amount of milk produced, he notes. [Read more…]

Saving Small Dairy Farms

CN-MR-1-small dairy01by Tamara Scully

Dairy farms are getting bigger. As the number of dairy farms decreases, along with the number of cows being milked nationwide, the total amount of milk being produced, increases. Not only are cows producing more milk each day, they are doing so on larger and larger farms.

According to the article “Milk Production Continues Shifting to Large-Scale Farms,” by James MacDonald and Doris Newton, published in the December 2014 issue of Amber Waves, the USDA’s Economic Research Service’s magazine focusing on ERS research, analysis and policy issues related to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America, dairy farming consolidation has been pronounced since 1992. In an industry where the number of dairy farms has decreased by 60 percent in the past two decades, this market reduction makes the possibility of starting small and mid-sized farming operations more difficult. [Read more…]

Virginia farm to table conference continues to grow

CM-MR-3-VA farm table01by Karl H. Kazaks

WEYERS CAVE, VA — This year’s Virginia Farm to Table Conference was highlighted by the participation of renowned soil biology expert Dr. Elaine Ingham.

As part of the multi-day conference focused on the burgeoning local foods movement within agriculture, Dr. Ingham, The Rodale Institute’s chief scientist, helmed a special day-long soil biology track, a series of discussions on the practical specifics of managing soil biology. The day of learning covered topics ranging from nutrient cycling to compost teas to pest control. [Read more…]

Cold weather calves

CEWM-MR-3-Cold weather3271by Sally Colby

Throughout the hot summer months, those who care for dairy calves concern themselves with issues such as flies, excess heat, ventilation and fluid intake. Now that winter weather has arrived, calf care requires a somewhat different set of standards. While some calf care parameters are the same, cold weather care starts with ensuring that calves are warm and dry.

Every animal has a thermo neutral zone, or TNZ. Technically speaking, TNZ is the range of ambient temperature without regulatory changes in metabolic heat production or evaporative heat loss. More simply, it’s the environment in which the calf doesn’t lose energy trying to stay warm or cool. [Read more…]