Now New Hampshire and PA Extensions have a grant-funded calibration unit that can quickly and accurately measure the output of each nozzle on the sprayer. In Pennsylvania, the cost to the grower is $50 for the first sprayer and $35 for a second one. The rest of the expenses, estimated at $200, are paid for by grant funds supplied by the PA Department of Agriculture and the State Horticulture Association of PA. The calibration unit has eight cylinders, each with a quick-connect hose that connects to the nozzles on your air blast sprayer. “The unit does the job with precision,” says Dr. Kerry Richards, Director of the Pesticide Education Program for Penn State Extension. According to Richards, the grower can see on the unit which of his nozzles are ‘off’ and not working properly. “What’s at stake is your bottom line,” [Read more…]
New England Farm Weekly
by George Looby, DVM
For almost 60 years the use of antibiotics as additives in livestock and poultry feeds has been an accepted and recommended practice. It was found that such use increased feed efficiency and was thought to reduce the incidence of low grade infections. This practice did not go unnoticed by consumer groups who became concerned about the likelihood that such drugs would find their way into the human food chain with unknown consequences. For years this very active group made their concerns known to their legislators requesting that some sort of regulations be instituted that would control such activity. In time the medical community began to observe an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant strains they were observing in their practices. This was particularly evident in hospital settings where compromised patients were failing to to respond to conventional antibiotic therapy. This trend led to very real concern among physicians and hospital staff when the MRSA (Methacillin resistant Staph aureus) problem began to surface. [Read more…]
Cornell University extension veterinarian Dr. Daryl Nydam is interested in the management of close-up and just-fresh cows, and the importance of minimizing negative energy balance. He’s done a lot of research in this area, and says his best research collaborators are cows.
“Transition cows have all kinds of challenges,” said Nydam. “Social pressures, getting to the feed bunk. We re-group them, put them in a new group and it’s a challenge. And while they’re growing and in early lactation, there’s a negative protein balance. We’ve just started to crack that nut.” [Read more…]
by Jane Primerano
The term “organic farming” was coined by J. I. Rodale back in the 1940s. The institute he founded and the farms he started continue, now under the direction of Mark Smallwood.
The institute is housed at Kutztown University, not far from the Emmaus, PA, publishing company (think Organic Gardening) operated by members of the family, but a separate entity.
Smallwood was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 25th annual Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association — New Jersey held at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. His address was a call to good stewardship and a delineation of the work being done at Rodale. [Read more…]
Since the beginning of this century there has been a modest resurgence in the number of organizations whose mission is to encourage the preservation of farms and farmland and assist new farmers in acquiring land and gaining the knowledge to manage it successfully. Many young people are finding a career in farming satisfying in ways that cannot be achieved in other career fields. The pitfalls and obstacles this group faces are many and varied but help is available for those who know where to look. Land for Good will assist those who are searching for new resources to explore. [Read more…]
by George Looby, DVM
As the designated shopper makes his/her way through the aisles of the supermarket with the square wheel of the shopping cart not quite in sync with the other three one cannot help but be somewhat confused by the array of designations given to even the the most basic of foodstuffs. Not that long ago eggs were Grade A Jumbo, Extra Large, Large etc. Now one of the more basic of our dietary needs has been given additional designations and making sense of it all becomes a bit confusing. Free range, natural, organic, GMO free … just what do all of these designations mean or do they mean anything at all? [Read more…]
TOWANDA, PA — When North Dakota’s soil health evangelist Gabe Brown speaks: Farmers listen. They also fill fire halls and fields to visit with him about the finer points of regenerating soil, improving profit and actually having fun on the farm again.
The candid rancher spoke in front of over 150 farmers from three states at the Wysox Volunteer Fire Company as part of a 3-day soil health roadshow in Pennsylvania with Dr. Bernard Sweeney, Director of the Stroud Water Research Center and Norm Conrad from the Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). [Read more…]
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…]