Tom and Kim Nixon named recipients of the Farmer of the Year award

CM-MR-1-TomKimBLACKSBURG, VA — Virginia Cooperative Extension has recognized Robert T. “Tom” Nixon II and his wife, Kim, of Glenmary Farm in Rapidan, VA, as recipients of the 2014 Virginia Farmer of the Year Award.

The award commends individual contributions to the commonwealth’s agricultural industry.

Beef cattle, turkeys and row crops are major enterprises at scenic Glenmary Farm overlooking the Rapidan River. The Nixons, who own the farm, are focused on flexibility in growing and marketing cattle and crops. [Read more…]

Dangerous manure moves to a higher level

C4-MR-3-MANUREDEMO1by Steve Wagner

“If you drop your monkey wrench, you could bend down to pick it up, and be in a dangerous place.” With that statement, Rob Meinen, senior extension associate at Penn State’s Department of Animal Science, essentially described the tone of the seminar this day at Pleasant View Dairy Farms LLC in Pine Grove, PA. Looking at a soon-to-be-filled lagoon surrounded by cyclone fencing, he further cautioned heightened awareness to match an increasing threat. “We need to be aware that an outdoor storage like this should be considered a confined space. Confined spaces are not designed for normal worker occupancy.” [Read more…]

Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses

by Bill and Mary Weaver

Dr. Robert Van Saun, a Penn State University Extension veterinarian and professor, was called to a farm to investigate why the horses became colicky after eating. The hay in their diet appeared to be quality orchard grass hay. Van Saun’s suspicions were aroused, however, when he noticed a musty smell. An analysis showed that the hay contained over 25 percent moisture — a dead giveaway to the problem.

“To prevent mold growth,” Van Saun explained, “hay must be dried to below 15 percent moisture. Thirteen percent is safer.” He took a mold culture, and found more than a million colony forming units (CFUs) per gram of penicillium mold — a potential mycotoxin-producing mold — on the hay. [Read more…]