A society of Dorpers

CEW-MR-3-Dorper2by Steve Wagner

Where have Dorpers been all our lives? And now that they’re here, what can we do with them?

“Dorpers are a breed of sheep that have been in this country for about 20 years,” according to Doug Gillespie, executive secretary for the American Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society, “and they are growing by leaps and bounds.” Dorpers are meat sheep originally bred in South Africa. Their most familiar trait is a totally black head on an otherwise white body. The Dorper breed is a successful crossing of Dorset and Persian sheep, using the first three letters of each to coin the name. “You’re seeing a huge Dorper influence in the lamb industry in this country today,” Gillespie continued. “They are extremely fast maturing sheep and they are easy keepers. They don’t have to be sheared because they are what we call a shedding breed. They do grow some fuzz, but they shed it off as the weather warms up, which saves the cost of shearing.” Parenthetically, Gillespie notes that wool is so depressed in the American market that it hardly covers the cost of shearing. And shearers are hard to find. Gillespie also says Dorpers are the future of the sheep business. [Read more…]

Intelligent mastitis management, part two

C4-MR-1-MastitisCon2by Bill and Mary Weaver

A previous edition of Country Folks provided information from a seminar given by Dr. Ernest Hovingh at the Penn State Mastitis and Milk Quality Conference on the importance of recognizing the different pathogens that cause mastitis in dairy cows so the appropriate treatment can be implemented. A continuation of that list and insight on how to prevent mastitis can be found below. [Read more…]

Woskob’s Countryside Farm conversion project is under way

CM-MR-3-Woskob3by Jon M. Casey

For Victor and Gina Woskob, converting an existing, dormant dairy facility into a thriving beef feedlot seemed like the ideal way to grow their family’s Countryside Farm near Port Matilda, PA. Having moved back to central Pennsylvania from Boynton Beach, FL, where they owned and operated a site contracting business, the Woskobs purchased this farm in December 2012. Since then, they have been fulfilling their dream of returning to farming after their time in the South. [Read more…]

Starting a farm

CN-CM-MR-1-StartingaFarmby Sanne Kure-Jensen

Many states are growing new farms and farmers, according to preliminary reports from the recent USDA agricultural census. Consumer support of local farmers continues to grow. Farmers markets, direct sales and agritourism help make farming a viable occupation in many regions.

In her recent webinar called “Starting a Farm,” Rachel Armstrong of farmcommons.org explained how to establish a new farm business. She covered legal issues of starting a new farm, such as buying land and equipment, leasing, forming a business, buying insurance and protecting the farm. [Read more…]

Intelligent mastitis management

CEW-MR-1-MastitisConAs dairy farmers, we need to learn to manage mastitis using a whole arsenal of information rather than routinely treating all our mastitis cases with antibiotics. One step in intelligently managing mastitis, according to Dr. Ernest Hovingh of Penn State, is to learn to culture the organisms causing mastitis on your farm. Which organisms are causing mastitis is one important piece of information you’ll need to figure out the best way to manage your mastitis cases. [Read more…]