Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses

by Bill and Mary Weaver

Dr. Robert Van Saun, a Penn State University Extension veterinarian and professor, was called to a farm to investigate why the horses became colicky after eating. The hay in their diet appeared to be quality orchard grass hay. Van Saun’s suspicions were aroused, however, when he noticed a musty smell. An analysis showed that the hay contained over 25 percent moisture — a dead giveaway to the problem.

“To prevent mold growth,” Van Saun explained, “hay must be dried to below 15 percent moisture. Thirteen percent is safer.” He took a mold culture, and found more than a million colony forming units (CFUs) per gram of penicillium mold — a potential mycotoxin-producing mold — on the hay. [Read more…]

The 146th Annual Cummington Fair

CN-MR-2-Cummington027by Laura Rodley

Farmers and residents prepared all year long for the 146th Annual Cummington Fair, grooming their animals and growing their vegetables and flowers for a chance to bask in the limelight. Last year, 34,000 people attended the fair in Cummington, MA, viewing the best of the best and partaking of usually forbidden fair food delights — such as French fries and fried dough — while watching magicians, riding on the Ferris Wheel or observing the oxen and horse pull. [Read more…]

What does the price crystal ball say?

CNM-MR-1-Crystal Ball396by Katie Navarra

If pricing were as simple as looking into a crystal ball farmers could rest easy knowing they were selling their crops at a price that is sustainable for the farm and what the market could bear.

“Small and mid-size producers are often shooting from their hip (when setting prices),” said Bob Weybright, Business Agricultural Economic Development Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program. [Read more…]

Cross-country couple

CW-MR-3-Moosman394by Kelly Gallagher

Anyone who has spent time on a ranch knows that working on one is very labor-intensive. But for Clint and Debbie Moosman, it is truly a labor of love.

Clint is originally from Idaho — traditional ranching country — but the ranch he and Debbie run today is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, an area far more well known for grape growing than cattle raising. To those unfamiliar with either industry, the type of cattle the Moosmans raise — Charolais — just might sound like a type of wine. [Read more…]