Planning for pigweed control- Part 1 – know the enemy

CM-MR-2-Pigweeds-pt1-4767by Sally Colby

The name of nearly any weed is a dirty word to both crop and vegetable farmers, and one weed group will be particularly challenging in the coming years.

Pigweeds have been around for a while, and have been fairly manageable until they started to exhibit signs of resistance to available herbicides. Herbicide resistance is a serious problem, defined as ‘when a labeled rate of a herbicide, which previously killed target species, will no longer control the target species.’ [Read more…]

Feeding your cattle on hayland better for soils, forage stands

CM-MR-2-Carbon-Cycle-8by Karl H. Kazaks

Recently NRCS hosted a webinar regarding the importance of the carbon cycle in maintaining soils and agricultural systems, with a special emphasis on understanding the importance of nutrient cycling to better manage hayland. “Hayland is one of those land uses that many of us just often overlook,” said NRCS’s National Soil Health and Sustainability Team Leader David Lamm. “We think that just because something green is growing out there that means everything is fine in the soil ecosystem and all functions are go.” That’s not necessarily always the case, though. “We have actually a fairly degraded situation on our hayland acres because of our standard production” method of removing hay, said the webinar’s featured presenter, Jay Fuhrer. Removing all that vegetative matter removes carbon from the system and ultimately deleteriously impacts soils, and succeeding years’ hay crops. [Read more…]

PA Cattlemen honor industry leaders at Annual Banquet

CM-BF-MR-6-PA CATTLEMAN15by Jon M. Casey

The Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association held their 2015 annual Cattlemen’s Banquet at the PA Farm Show Complex VIP Banquet Center the evening of March 27. As part of the association’s daylong events, the banquet followed the 42nd annual Pennsylvania Performance Tested Bull Sale at the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center in Pennsylvania Furnace, Centre County earlier that day. [Read more…]

Rotational grazing for maximum fertility and soil health

CN-MR-2-ROTATIONAL-GRAZING-4101by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Farmers have understood for centuries that animal manure helps return vital nutrients to crop fields. Many farmers pull mechanical spreaders behind fossil fuel-burning tractors to move manure into fields, but at Polyface farm, livestock spread their own manure. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley advocates rotational grazing; they blend livestock and pasture species to puzzle pests.

Well managed grazing concentrates livestock in one area for a short period and then move them on. At Polyface farm, portable electric fences contain grazing beef herds. Farmers move the fences and livestock daily. Salatin said his animals look forward to their fresh “salad bar” each morning. The cattle graze forage at a sustainable level. They trample their manure patties ensuring good soil contact and starting the decomposition process. [Read more…]