Grazing 260 days in Upstate New York is Possible

CEW-MR-3-Grazing days3DEANSBORO, NY — Fifty hearty farmers from Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York braved downpours and cold temperatures to learn, discuss and verify that forward grazing planning does meet the realities of extending pasture resources into the winter season.

The goal for the day at the Bishopp Family Farm was to show others that it’s possible to increase grazing days, reduce wintering costs and maintain animal performance by using holistic planned grazing management principles and decisions to implement a stockpiled grazing program. [Read more…]

Learning the A, B, D’s at Smith Brothers Farm

CE-MR-3-Smith Bros1by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Whether harvesting apples, raising beef or producing dairy, the Smith family can always be found busy on the farm — and this time of year baking holiday pies for their Orchard Bake Shop is keeping the family hopping.

For years the Smith family has worked the dairy and beef farm and the orchards on Jockey Street in Ballston Spa, NY.

“My grandfather moved here in 1932 and started the dairy,” explains Rick Smith, who runs the farm with his brother Bill. “He moved here from a few roads away, because there was a better barn here than at the farm he was on.” [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…]

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…]