Shaking milk up: going grass-fed

CW-MR-1-Shaking milk1Cby Tamara Scully

Today’s conventional dairy farmer is more likely to use his land for producing grass, corn, soybeans and other feed crops for his cows than to use the land for grazing. Likewise, today’s dairy cow is more likely to consume its calories and meet nutritional needs from a total mixed ration (TMR) than from pasture grazing.

TMRs provide an efficient, nutritionally balanced and measured means of providing the dairy herd with food designed to meet their specific needs, thereby increasing milk output and components. A mixture of forages and grains, along with protein and mineral supplements, TMRs — when done properly — offer a homogenous feed supply with a known nutritional content. [Read more…]

Soil fertility: getting it right

by Tamara Scully

“Feed the soil to help feed the crops that you want to grow,” Neil Kinsey, soil fertility specialist, advised. “If you just put down what the plants need, you aren’t feeding the soil.”

Feeding the plants does not feed the soil. Growing plants remove essential elements from the soil. If those elements aren’t replaced, and aren’t in balance, then soil fertility is compromised, and crop health and yields will be impacted, Kinsey cautioned.

Just getting the pH right is not nearly enough. The result of the interactions of soil chemistry is pH, and a target pH can be achieved even when the chemistry is out of balance. But when the chemistry is unbalanced, important elements are not available to the plants. [Read more…]

250 farmers unite to support West Charlton farm family

CEWN-MR-3-Farmers unite1GLENVILLE, NY — Glenville Town Justice Paul Davenport seemed a bit distracted as over 200 farmers and supporters filled his court room to show their solidarity for local farmer, Joshua Rockwood of West Wind Acres in West Charlton, NY.

The 36-year-old farmer who is facing 13 animal neglect charges pled not guilty to the charges in court Tuesday, March 24. According to court documents, authorities found sheep in an unheated barn with frozen water with animal feces mixed into the ice. The documents also stated 15 pigs had frozen, undrinkable water, and they were confined in a barn without food. In addition, three horses, around 30 cows and 10 pigs were without proper food or water, and goats did not have access to food. [Read more…]

Grain marketing issues addressed at Central NY CCE 2015 Corn Day

CEW-MR-2-Corn Day1by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Grain marketing was a hot topic at the Central New York Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 2015 Corn Day.

In a presentation given by Penn State Extension Ag Marketing Educator John Berry, both corn and soybean trends and predictions were addressed.

“It’s impossible to predict grain prices. But, I’m optimistic about the food business,” Berry stated. “What business would you rather be in then trying to feed this exploding population? But, I’m also cautious about the risk we’re going to face in the meantime.” [Read more…]