Midnight Farms

CM-MR-2-Midnight2693by Sally Colby

Ben Warfield has been raising cattle for quite a while, and like many other young cattlemen, he got his start in 4-H. “I started when I was 10,” he said, adding that his father JG is also involved with the Marriottsville, MD cattle operation. “I raised breeding heifers and market steers, and I also had breeding and market hogs and market lambs.”

Raising and exhibiting a variety of livestock paid off well for Ben, who landed a spot on the Maryland state livestock judging team. “Our team was in the top three at the national contest so we won a trip to Europe,” he said. “We went to England, France, Germany and Belgium. In Belgium, we stayed with host families for several days.” The host farm where Ben stayed raised Belgian Blue cattle, which he says are very heavy-muscled and very lean. [Read more…]

Planning for production

CM-MR-2-PlanningforProdby Tamara Scully

“It’s all about the consumer now. We’ve gone from a production-driven market to a consumer-driven market,” Dr. Robin G. Brumfield, Farm Management Specialist, Horticultural Economics, of Rutgers University, said in a recent webinar. “Try to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes when trying to decide what to grow and how much.”

Production planning means asking the hard questions before planting the first seed. The first step is to identify a need that isn’t being adequately addressed in the market. In today’s mature market, finding a niche to fill means doing something new, doing something better, and adding value by offering services. [Read more…]

Tips for maintaining low mycotoxin levels

CM-MR-4-Mycotoxin1074by Bill and Mary Weaver

Large numbers of pet deaths in 2005 and again in 2007 prompted recalls of dog food that contained high levels of corn mycotoxins — potent poisons produced by molds. Mycotoxins are a major health hazard to livestock, pets and people.

What’s a farmer to do, when, under certain weather conditions, some mycotoxins will be produced, even in field corn that is still growing in the field? This is particularly a problem in the southeastern U.S., but also in the Midwest and elsewhere. [Read more…]

Growing quality from within

CM-MR-3-RAS2880by Sally Colby

Immediately after morning milking, a New Jersey dairy herd was loaded into a tractor-trailer, bound for a farm in Pennsylvania. That evening proved to be memorable.

“We had 55 cows that had come out of a tie stall facility, not used to being in a freestall barn, with people they had never seen, and had just ridden for three hours in a tractor trailer in the rain,” said Bobby Geiman, who now owns the cows with his wife Shelly. “These cows had never been in a parlor — they walked in and backed right out. Shelly’s job was to grab the tail and hold the cow in place until the next cow entered. The cows were nervous, and had no idea what was going on. It took us four hours to milk 55 cows, but within three days, they were fine.” [Read more…]