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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
October 2015 will mark the first time an FDA court mandated rule will affect producers of fresh produce in the marketplace.
“This is coming!” said Produce Safety Alliance Program Director Elizabeth A. Bihn, Ph.D. “Don’t panic, but do something now so it doesn’t hit you like a freight train when it happens!”
Bihn was speaking at a 2015 ENYCHP Good Agricultural Practices Farm Food Safety Training Program, where producers and farmers’ market managers drove for hours in inclement weather to attend the 2-day workshop. [Read more…]
by Katie Navarra
Though ancient grains have the potential of being a value-added crop for farms, the dehulling process continues to be a roadblock in the production of grains like einkorn, emmer and spelt.
The eOrganic webinar, Dehulling Ancient Grains, explained the methods used to dehull grains and the components needed in a dehulling system. Guest speakers representing with extensive experience growing and processing grains shared feedback on the economics of dehulling and the options available to both large and small-scale growers. [Read more…]
by Sanne Kure-Jensen
How does a beginning farmer secure their first farm loan? A farmer may wish to purchase equipment using a loan instead of taking on expensive credit card debt for cash flow until harvest brings cash. Most lenders seek similar business information to analyze when considering beginning farmer credit worthiness.
Short-term loans are used to finance seeds, fertilizers and/or other annual inputs. This can include cash to help farmers pay their farm and/or personal bills between harvests. Short-term loans are under a year and are repaid after harvest. Intermediate-term loans help farmers purchase capital equipment like tillers, tractors, coolers and have repayment terms up to seven years. Long-term loans for farmland may extend to 30 years.
Gary Matteson of the Farm Credit Council and Benneth Phelps of the Carrot Project shared their recommendations on planning for obtaining credit in a workshop for beginning farmer educators at the Beginning Farmer Learning Network Conference in late 2014. [Read more…]