Creature comforts

CM-MR-2-Improving cow759by Steve Wagner

Concerns about cow comfort haven’t changed much in 130 years other than to diversify those concerns. “When we look at a cow’s day, 75 percent is spent eating and resting,” said Penn State’s Dan McFarland, a Capitol Region Extension Educator from York County PA. “So time away from the pen becomes pretty important.” McFarland was one of the presenters at the 2015 Lebanon Dairy & Crops Compliance Days at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center. When we think of the creature comforts, cow comfort specifically, it is often a passing thought, another one of those incidentals. Dan McFarland is different. He and a handful of ag engineering confreres who are similarly inclined not only think about it; they think about it from this angle and that. They hypothesize and theorize over creature comfort dimensions and measurements to the nth degree, putting it all under the theoretical microscope of time and motion study. Accordingly, he and his wide range of associates have produced charts and graphs to explain how to make life better for cows during every waking, and sleeping, moment. [Read more…]

Cattle feeders learn more about finishing cattle

CEWM-MR-4-Cattle feeders8by Jon M. Casey

For the 160 attendees that attended this year’s Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day, there was a lot to learn about how grading and labeling of beef takes place. With PSU Retired Extension Economist, Lou Moore leading the way, Dr. Ty Lawrence, director of the Beef Carcass Research Center at West Texas A&M University and Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Penn State Meat Extension Specialist, together put on what this writer considers one of the most interesting cattle feeder days in recent memory. They touched on everything from the state of the current U.S. and World Ag economies to meat product labeling. Dr. Lawrence focused on how to finish beef cattle to receive the best sale price for the effort. Together, these three experts gave an informative overview, covering everything from what goes into Nathan’s Hot Dogs to the political wranglings of foreign nations as they deal with U.S. farmers. At the end of the day, there was much to contemplate. [Read more…]

Establishing a safety culture

CEWM-CN-MR-2-Safety Culture9804by Sally Colby

Dairy farmer Walt Moore says prior to 2007, his farm had several workers compensation claims. “We had one really big one,” he said. “The herd manager was injured while moving a heifer. He came back in limited capacity, but was never able to fully return to work.”

After several more claims, Moore’s rates went up. Eventually, his insurance company decided that the farm was a high risk and dropped them. “We had to go with the state workers program,” said Moore, adding that he had to stay with that program for three years. “The rates are substantially higher than commercial insurance.” [Read more…]

Is drone technology for farmers just around the corner?

CEW-MR-2-Oneida-Congress7021by Pat Malin

CLINTON, NY — Many American farmers have readily adopted GPS technology and can appreciate the uses of computers throughout the farm and around the home, but are they ready for the next wave of technology?

Enter drones. Even if you are ready, hold onto your hat. Drones are not merely toys, but neither are they the fearsome military vehicles you’ve seen on the TV news.

Jeff Miller of Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension enlightened farmers about the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or systems (UAS) during the 2015 Oneida County Crop Congress, sponsored by Clinton Tractor. [Read more…]

Cazenovia Equipment is priming the market for drones

CEW-MR-1-Caz Equip2by Pat Malin

LIVERPOOL, NY — Cazenovia Equipment, a farm equipment dealership in central and northern New York, isn’t waiting for farmers to catch up with technology — it’s already pushing the envelope in that direction.

Cazenovia Equipment began promoting and demonstrating unmanned aerial vehicles or drones for agricultural use at various trade shows in 2014. It has purchased four UAVs from Precision Drone, an Indiana company.

Cazenovia Equipment’s website has a special section devoted to the UAVs. It sells three different Precision Drone models, all helicopter-style (hexacopters) that have six rotors. [Read more…]