Rockingham cattlemen send ‘hope’ West

CM-MR-2-HOPE 1Second cattle-drive underway in Virginia for South Dakota ranchers

by Sherry Bunting

HARRISONBURG, VA — When Jim Lam read the accounts after Storm Atlas hit South Dakota last October, he was moved in a way that was hard for him to explain. “It broke my heart to see this,” said the longtime cattleman and Rockingham County Feeder Cattle Association president.

The freak early autumn blizzard came without much warning. It started with rain, followed by four feet of snow Oct. 4-6 and resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of cattle. Not only was part of the calf crop lost just weeks before fall roundup and sale, affecting ranch income for the whole next year, the loss of more cows than calves will affect ranch income for the next two years. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for a rancher to rebuild given the beef herd is the smallest in 60 years and western breeding stock is in short supply. [Read more…]

Benefits of cover crops

by Sanne Kure-Jensen

More and more growers are planting cover crops to improve soil moisture, reduce erosion and maximize profits. Cover crops can include grasses, legumes and forbs planted for seasonal cover. Over time, using cover crops improves yields, organic matter and soil water conservation. This change is most noticeable with diverse crop rotation. [Read more…]

Marketing local meats — best practices

CN-MR-1-Marketing 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Do you have more meat in your farm freezer that you can sell? Do you have trouble reaching customers or getting the prices you should to keep your farm viable?

“Most farmers go into farming because they love farming, not because they love marketing,” said Matt LeRoux, an agricultural marketing specialist with Cornell’s Cooperative Extension. At a recent workshop offered by the Rhode Island Raised Livestock Association, he coached livestock farmers to offer messages that resonate with customers and grow product sales.
[Read more…]

Soybean growers recognized at annual Crop Producers Conference

CM-MR-1-Soybean growers 1by Sally Colby

Pennsylvania soybean growers working toward higher yields can compete regionally for individual as well as regional awards in the state’s growing contest.

In presenting the Pennsylvania Soybean Board awards for the 2013 growing season, Penn State Extension Educator Del Voight noted that the average yield for 2013 was 76.8 bu/acre, which he says reflects the trend toward an overall increase of one bushel/year.

Average seed drop among growers was 167,000 plants/acre, which is close to the recommended rate in Penn State’s agronomy guide. [Read more…]

It’s fun, but is it safe?

CEWM-MR-3-It's fun 2by Sally Colby

Farm kids often have advantages over their suburban and urban peers when it comes to opportunities for learning about working with livestock and machinery. One of the most popular pieces of machinery among youth is the 4-wheeler, or ATV, but such vehicles are responsible for serious accidents every year.

To help both adults and youth understand the potential hazards with ATVs, Penn State ag engineers have created roll-over simulators. These simulators, which include a tractor cab and a full-size ATV, draw attention at events such as the Keystone Farm Show in York, PA and Penn State’s Ag Progress Days in Rock Springs, PA. [Read more…]