Austin Brothers Valley Farm

CN-MR-3-Austin68xby Laura Rodley

The line “the cattle are lowing” from the Christmas song, “Away in a Manger,” comes to mind while listening to the cattle serenade their owner, Michael Austin, during feeding time at Austin Brothers Valley Farm in Belchertown, MA.

The friendly mix of purebred Simmentals, Black Angus, Limousins and Herefords are grass-fed on 50 acres of pasture and several hundred farm-harvested round bales in winter, plus corn and silage grown on another 35 acres. The farm has five barns, a storage shed and garage.

But the cattle do have to share. During October through Halloween, three and half acres of their cornfield becomes a family-friendly corn maze, which has delighted more than 1,000 adventurers for four years. Some people do get lost, Austin admits, but they find their way out. “I haven’t run anybody over in the field,” he joked. [Read more…]

Observation, documentation and sanitation stressed at Calf Management

CEW-MR-3-Calf Management6by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Any successful dairy farmer will tell you that good calf management practices have been proven to maximize calf health and reduce vet costs.
A 5-day Calf Management Training program sponsored by the Central New York Cornell Cooperative Extension Dairy and Field Crops Team, explained the fine tuning points of those practices. The training program culminated with a farm walk and hands-on demonstration at Dykeman Dairy in Fultonville, NY.

Josh Kilmartin has been working at Dykeman Dairy for nearly 25 years and has been in the position of calf manager for many of those years. [Read more…]

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Energy conservation opportunities in broiler and breeder poultry operations

CN-MR-2-Poultry2by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Poultry operators can increase profits by lowering ongoing energy expenses. Dennis Brothers, Extension poultry housing specialist with the National Poultry Technology Center of Auburn University, led a recent webinar on this topic called “Poultry Operations: Broiler and Breeder Energy Conservation Opportunities.” Brothers focused on commercial broiler and breeder houses. Brothers said broiler and breeder chicken production accounted for 85-90 percent of American commercial poultry houses. [Read more…]

Grazing stockpiled pasture takes patience

by Troy Bishopp

Joe Namath said, “First I prepare. Then I have Faith.” I’ve got my own context: “Without goals, passion and the faith to succeed, you will fail.” When it comes to grazing animals into the winter season it pays to develop patience and a sense of humor as you battle Mother Nature’s wrath.

Like a sickness, I’ve been on a quest to achieve year round grazing in the Northeast because someone said it couldn’t be done. It’s a challenge I’ll admit, but it has many beneficial layers to plants, animals, soil and people. [Read more…]