There are many who attend the annual Cattle Feeder Days at Lancaster’s Farm and Home Center to hear retired Penn State economist Lou Moore’s fairly close to unerring predictions about what to expect in the coming year. When Cheryl Fairbairn, Penn State Extension Livestock Team, stepped to the microphone this year to say that Lou would not be in attendance, an audible groan from the audience aptly reflected the collective mood at Moore’s absence. Only on the previous night did he communicate that his wife and sons persuaded him not to make the two hour car trip alone, that his 80-plus years could prove to be a liability. But Fairbairn read what Moore would have told his audience had he been there in person: It’s going to be a good year overall. Continue reading
by Sherry Bunting
HARRISONBURG, VA — When Jim Lam read the accounts after Storm Atlas hit South Dakota last October, he was moved in a way that was hard for him to explain. “It broke my heart to see this,” said the longtime cattleman and Rockingham County Feeder Cattle Association president.
The freak early autumn blizzard came without much warning. It started with rain, followed by four feet of snow Oct. 4-6 and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of cattle. Not only was part of the calf crop lost just weeks before fall roundup and sale, affecting ranch income for the whole next year, the loss of more cows than calves will affect ranch income for the next two years. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for a rancher to rebuild given the beef herd is the smallest in 60 years and western breeding stock is in short supply. Continue reading
by Sanne Kure-Jensen
More and more growers are planting cover crops to improve soil moisture, reduce erosion and maximize profits. Cover crops can include grasses, legumes and forbs planted for seasonal cover. Over time, using cover crops improves yields, organic matter and soil water conservation. This change is most noticeable with diverse crop rotation. Continue reading
Do you have more meat in your farm freezer that you can sell? Do you have trouble reaching customers or getting the prices you should to keep your farm viable?
“Most farmers go into farming because they love farming, not because they love marketing,” said Matt LeRoux, an agricultural marketing specialist with Cornell’s Cooperative Extension. At a recent workshop offered by the Rhode Island Raised Livestock Association, he coached livestock farmers to offer messages that resonate with customers and grow product sales.