Small-flock turkey production

C4-MR-1-TurkeysPrepared by R. Michael Hulet, Phillip J. Clauer, George L. Greaser, Jayson K. Harper and Lynn F. Kime

Raising turkeys can be a satisfying educational activity as well as a source of economical, high-quality meat for your family and friends. By raising a small flock of turkeys, you can produce the freshest turkey possible while involving the whole family in working with and learning about live animals.

Turkeys can easily be started by hatching eggs or by raising young poults. They can be grown and home processed without the use of expensive processing equipment, or they may be sold to live markets (auctions).

Adult males have a naked, heavily carunculated (bumpy) head that normally is bright red but that turns to white overlaid with bright blue when the birds are excited. Other distinguishing features of the common turkey are a long red fleshy ornament (called a snood) that grows from the forehead over the bill; a fleshy wattle growing from the throat; a tuft of coarse, black, hairy feathers (known as a beard) projecting from the breast; and more or less prominent leg spurs. [Read more…]

Growing the farm: next season’s production planning

C4-MR-1-Growing the farm 2by Tamara Scully

Planning for next season, particularly if you plan to expand your capacity, is a multi-dimensional process. Are you going to grow more crops and become more diverse? Will you expand by growing more of the same crops, increasing your production capacity? Or perhaps you’ll expand by extending the growing season. No matter how you opt to grow, preparing for the growing pains can make the process successful.

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In North Carolina, the 2014 growing season stretched well past the state fair

CM-MR-3-GrowingNC2by Chris Bickers

The topsy-turvy 2014 North Carolina growing season came to an almost-complete end the first weekend in November, when many crop-producing areas experienced a killing frost that brought an end to growth in the field.

The end came later than expected. Over the past century, the first killing frost in North Carolina has usually fallen somewhere close to the beginning of the North Carolina State Fair, in the third week of October. In fact, North Carolina farmers have traditionally regarded the fair as celebration of the end of the harvest season. [Read more…]

PA Center for Dairy Excellence hosts Financial & Risk Management Conference

CEW-MR-2-CDE7by Jon M. Casey

While it might seem tedious and boring to some, for others, the desire to excel at financial risk management for dairy producers is becoming an essential component of a well-rounded farm management plan. Because the world of Ag finance is constantly changing, Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) has recognized the need for keeping the Ag finance and banking community informed of the latest in state and federal pricing policies. Accordingly, they have worked to help develop risk management strategies to help producers plan more effectively for unforeseen changes in the forces that affect dairy producers. [Read more…]

Paradigm shift leads to grass-fed philosophy

CM-MR-3-Braeburn32432by Sally Colby

Charlie Sydnor has been involved with beef cattle for as long as he can remember, starting from his time growing up in Montana. He raised cattle in what he calls a rather conventional method until the late 1990s, which is when he looked at the scientific data on grass-fed beef.

“It dawned on me that that’s what we ate when I was growing up — grass-fed beef,” said Sydnor. “Then I looked at it from a historical perspective, and realized that most of our beef prior to 1945 was grass-fed.” [Read more…]