Grazing dairy strategies

CM-CN-MR-1-Grazing strategiesby Tamara Scully

There’s a lot of talk these days about different grazing systems. Mob grazing, management intensive grazing (MIG), ultra-high stock density (UHSD) grazing and tall grass grazing systems. Most concentrate on beef cattle production. But can these systems translate to dairy cows? In a system where dairy profitability and milk production is dependent upon excellent forage quality and dry matter intake, can these type of grazing strategies make sense?

Mena Hautau, field and forage crop educator with Berks County Extension, recently decided to take a look at what type of “mob grazing” was already happening on southeast Pennsylvania grazing dairies. A Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant allowed her to observe grazing systems on four dairies which have already incorporated some type of intensive, managed grazing system, and are grazing tall grass, using frequent rotations, and grazing in higher densities. They were also all certified organic, although this was not intentional, and all were being managed by dairymen with more than two decades of experience. The dairies are grazing-based dairies with little grain or total mixed rations being fed. [Read more…]

UNH Bee Hotel Featured at 2015 NH Farm and Forest Expo

beehotel_hrDURHAM, N.H. – Visitors to this year’s NH Farm and Forest Expo in Manchester will have a chance to see what the accommodations are like for bees buzzing around Woodman Farm at the University of New Hampshire. A rendition of UNH’s Bee Hotel, which is part of a research project at the NH Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES), will be on display.

The bee hotel, which won’t have any guests, will be part of the UNH booth featuring information about the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, and the experiment station. The expo runs Friday, Feb. 6, and Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. [Read more…]

At the junction of livestock and the environment

CN-MR-3-VT grazing conf3by Troy Bishopp

FAIRLEE, VT — The frozen surface of Lake Morey and the majestic mountain ranges provide many hours of relaxation, skating, hockey games and ice-fishing while adding the scenic backdrop for the 19th annual Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference. All is quiet under the frozen lakes and soil of the Green Mountain State, but water quality opportunities and challenges coming down the pike for residents and farmers will no doubt heat things up.

Over the years, The Vermont Grass Farmers Association, The Vermont Beef Producers Association and The UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Pasture Program have explored conference themes in building community and ecological resilience, integrating natural systems and growing the local food movement. This year’s theme, and perhaps the most telling, “At the Junction of Livestock and the Environment” added to the decision-making discussion as the immense Lake Champlain watershed comes under pollution diet restrictions. [Read more…]

Microgreens production at ‘Farming Turtles’

CN-MR-2-FARMING TURTLE_36by Sanne Kure-Jensen

How many foods can be grown and sold in under a week? Microgreens are ready to sell 5 to 10 days after germination. Baby greens are harvested less than 2 weeks after germination.

Super Babies® “are tiny living pieces of art!” says CEO Lauri Roberts who produces microgreens under the Super Babies name. Chefs love using microgreens as tasty, colorful garnishes. They know that a just a few tiny greens sprinkled over an appetizer or dish will make a big visual impact. A little goes a long way, helping chefs justify the cost of these greens.

Owner Lauri Roberts uses a large sprouting room and two greenhouses to produce certified organic microgreens and baby greens year-round at Farming Turtles in Exeter, RI. The farm also grows wheatgrass for people and pets and shitake mushrooms. [Read more…]

Chocolate milk anyone?

CN-MR-2-CHOC-MILK-141by Laura Rodley

Savoring many different types of chocolate doesn’t just happen at Valentine’s Day. For the past two years Margie Parsons and her daughter Kate have been cooking up chocolate in Mayval Farm’s kitchen. They’re trying out cocoa flavorings for their new chocolate milk, milk that will be processed in the farm’s own processing creamery. They also process cheese and milk and an Icelandic dairy product called skyr, (pronounced skier) which is similar in texture to Greek yogurt.

They will use a portion of the 660 gallons of milk produced daily from their 100 milkers, registered Holsteins with a few Jerseys and Brown Swiss, out of a herd of 200 on the 350 acre Westhampton, MA farm. To withstand the recent -10 degrees temperatures, the cows’ diet of farm-produced haylage and corn silage was increased and they have responded well, actually performing better in colder weather. [Read more…]