Soil erosion and tillage equipment

CM-MR-1-Soil-erosio1n1by Tamara Scully

Plowing, tilling, harrowing, fertilizing and all the other things farmers do cause soil disturbances. Calculating the impact of the disturbance can assist conservation planners and farmers in designing management strategies that protect the soil from erosion.

Five main types of soil disturbances exist: inversion with some mixing; mixing only; mixing with some inversion; lifting and fracturing; and compression. Different tools will cause different disturbances. The severity of disturbance is related to the depth of the soil involved, as well as the speed of the equipment. [Read more…]

Crop Comments: Old country gets ornery

In an article “Glyphosate Most Heavily Used Herbicide in History,” Mike Mozart stated that although enthusiasts for genetically engineered crops preach that this technology reduces herbicide use, the reverse is true. With the arrival of glyphosate-tolerant crops in 1996, use of that herbicide has increased by almost 2,000 percent in the U.S. and 1,500 percent worldwide. (More and more weeds have developed their own herbicide tolerance, resulting in the need for even more weed-killer applications.) Moreover, that between 1974 and 2014 over 3.5 billion pounds of this herbicide were applied in the U.S., with two-thirds of that amount being sprayed between 2004 and 2014. [Read more…]

Will New York dairies survive?

CW-MR-2-NY-Dairies-surviv1e2by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

If you listen to what dairy farmers are saying, you may conclude that New York State’s status as a “Dairy State” is unlikely to continue.

Small farms and large alike are being negatively impacted by the low milk prices and the numbers are staggering.

“We lost $3,000 in one month,” reports Terri Phillips of Dellavale Farm, Montgomery County. “I can’t imagine what it is on a bigger farm!” Dellavale milks about 50 cows.

Sandie Prokop co-owner of Schoharie County’s Crossbrook Dairy Farm, is milking nearly 400. “The main point is that at the end of the week, after 80-plus hours of work, my son — the daily manager — has zero dollars for all his work! Every penny that can be scraped up is spent for expenses.” [Read more…]

Automatic dairy farming: Part 2

CEW-MR-1-Automatic-Da1iry4by Tamara Scully

Dairy farmers recently gathered at Mor-Dale Farms, in Myersville, PA, to learn about automation: calf feeders, feed pushers, robotic milking systems and more. Part One discussed the use of automatic calf feeders as presented at the workshop “Automation and the Dairy Industry,” organized by Dr. Charles Garner, DVM.

Automatic feeding robots

Once calves mature, automation can still play a role in their daily feeding. Even in barns where humans — not robots — milk the cows, equipment, such as an automatic feed pusher, can simplify farm chores while helping to insure the cows consume the maximum dry matter intake, and are eating more of their daily rations. [Read more…]

Getting ready for grazing

by Troy Bishopp

Spring ushers in getting cows out to pasture. It also may mean new grazing and land management plans that help achieve financial and environmental goals.

Farmers like Dairyman, Kevin Murphy from Brookfield, NY that produce milk in the Upper Susquehanna River Watershed are implementing best management practices such as buffers, rotational grazing systems and nutrient management strategies with the help of federal and state agencies to meet water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay. Conservation also saves soil, reduces feed and fertilizer costs while returning more money back to the farm. These approaches make agriculture more resilient. [Read more…]