Postharvest produce: storage wars

CEW-MR-1-Postharvest produceby Tamara Scully

Keeping produce fresh may be more challenging than growing it. Without proper storage, even the most fruitful harvest is going to be a bust. From high-tech refrigeration units and monitors to basic root cellars, successful storage depends on keeping produce fresh and healthy, and is the key to maximizing profits. [Read more…]

Round three at the 2014 World Percheron Congress

CM-MR-4-WorldPerch 1044by Laura Rodley

The coliseum shook as 11 mare six-horse hitch teams entered the ring on the final night of the 16th World Percheron Congress. Except for the elegance of the horses, their drivers and their carriages, it could have been a scene from the Wild West of yesteryear with the drivers wearing cowboy hats, working the reins hard. However, there was no scruffiness allowed here. The judges looked for not just how well the teams were matched, but also how well they worked together as they chose the World Champion Mare Six-Horse Hitch Team at the Eastern States Exposition Center in Springfield, MA on Saturday, Oct. 11. [Read more…]

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…]