Soil Health: Managing soil pH, managing cover crops, reducing tillage

by Katie Navarra

Traditionally, production and yield were a farmer’s primary focus. Today, the environmental impact of farming practices is also among the top priorities for many farmers. “We only used to look at the production of our fields,” said Donn Branton, owner of Branton Farms, LLC in LeRoy, NY, “today our goals include leaving the soil a little better than when we started working it.” [Read more…]

Dygert Dairy~ A family tradition

CE-MR-2-Dygert-Dai1ry2by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

“A lot has changed since we came back home in 2009!” said Rob Dygert of Dygert Dairy, Nelliston, NY.

Dygert had come back as the 13th generation farmer with his wife Shannon to take over the farm he had grown up on; a farm that has been in the family since 1723.

“We started out milking 60 cows in the original tie stall,” Dygert recalls. [Read more…]

Managing the beasts within

CE-MR-3-Managing-the-61109by Sally Colby

Dairy producers who use pasture-based systems want to see healthy animals with good growth from the start. One aspect of managing cattle on pasture is managing their internal parasites.

Penn State extension veterinarian Dr. Robert Van Saun says that although internal parasites haven’t been a problem for most dairy herds in the past, they’re becoming more of an issue. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parasite management. [Read more…]

Herd genetics: Selecting for grass

by Tamara Scully

The dairy industry has been selectively breeding for specific traits for many years. Yet even today, it finds itself in need of new genetics, such as those for polled animals, or for producing milk on pasture. Some traits which selective dairy breeding has focused on have included: birthing ease; ketosis; mastitis and lameness.

“We can’t lose that to get new genetics,” Jen Burton, Veterinarian for Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative, speaking at the recent NOFA-NY Organic Dairy and Field Crop Conference, said. [Read more…]

Care and love of ones life’s work

CE-MR-2-Care-and-Love12by Troy Bishopp

CAZENOVIA, NY — In the hills overlooking Oneida Lake, with its fertile and sometimes fragile Honeoye soil, stand fields of cover crops, contour strips, wildlife ponds, riparian buffers and plantations of trees sequestering carbon, moisture and precious topsoil. This is a testament to a farm family’s life-long conservation ethic.

It has been said, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Pete Gianforte put his own twist on this adage by planting trees when he was a young farmer so his family and community could sit under them today. [Read more…]