Growing canola as a component of dairy feed

CM-CN-MR-2-Growing canola1766by Sally Colby

A field of bright yellow canola is a pretty sight, although most people don’t know what it is when they see it. The terms canola and rapeseed are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same crop.

Canola is essentially improved rapeseed. Rapeseed contains high levels of certain compounds that make it unpalatable to livestock. In the early 1970s, after improving the palatability, oil quality and protein level, the crop became known as canola. To be called canola, the crop must test below established levels for erucic acid and glucosinolates; the two undesirable compounds in rapeseed. The term ‘canola’ comes from the term ‘Canadian oil’. [Read more…]

Northern VA cattlemen see their gift return hope in western South Dakota

CEWM-MR-3-SDHeiffers3by Sherry Bunting

In the agriculture community, it’s not hard to find examples of folks “giving forward” in ways that make America great. One such example was to be found in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley this past winter and spring. The Rockingham Feeder Calf Association organized two cattle drives through the Heifers for South Dakota (HSD) project to help replenish losses and lift the spirits of fellow ranchers nearly 2,000 miles away after the unexpected pre-season Winter Storm Atlas devastated ranches along Highway 34 into the Black Hills region during the first week of October. [Read more…]

Springbrook Farm encourages youth

CM-MR-2-Springbrook1by Sally Colby

Kevin Diehl has considerable experience in the cattle industry, starting with the steers he raised and showed in 4-H. “I bought my first breeding female in 1982,” said Kevin, who took over his dad’s Fairfield, PA farm in 1991. “When I was out of 4-H, I worked for Frank Darcy, one of the top Hereford breeders in Pennsylvania. In 1984, we took a small string of cattle to the National Western Stock Show in Denver and had the champion female.”

That’s where Kevin says his interest in Herefords started. He noted that since starting in the beef business, he’s seen a lot of changes in cattle type. “We almost ruined not only our breed, but other breeds, by single trait selection — frame size — because that’s what was winning the shows,” he said. “We know now that any time we select for a single trait, we lose other traits. Maternal and thickness went to the side, and all we had was big, tall beef cattle with not a lot of meat or maternal traits.” [Read more…]

Social media 101

CM-MR-2-SocialMedia1by Steve Wagner

It should come as no surprise just how fast and widespread the tentacles of social media are spreading. Pervading nearly every aspect of our daily lives, it is doing so with relative suddenness. Yet it is happening with our permission, and isn’t exactly happening under our unsuspecting noses. It is here, it has been here and it will continue to be here, certainly for the short term — and likely much longer than that. For anyone interested in acquainting themselves with this phenomenon, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association held a seminar at the Farm & Home Center in Lancaster, PA. The aim was to help attendees expand online awareness of their businesses, particularly agri-businesses, through the further sophisticated use of social media. [Read more…]

Carroll County High School team take top honors at Maryland Envirothon

CM-RP-1-CarrollCountyA five-member team of students from Carroll County, named Venturing Crew 202, is the winner of the 24th annual Maryland Envirothon — an outdoor natural resources competition that challenges students to identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys and solve other complex natural resource issues. More than 100 challengers from 18 counties across Maryland took part in this year’s competition. The event was held June 18-19 at the Camp Pecometh in Queen Anne’s County.

“It is great to see such a sincere interest in the science side of the environment,” said Secretary Buddy Hance. “With the strong leadership and scientific expertise of these students, the outlook for our natural resources and agricultural industry is indeed very bright.” [Read more…]