Chemical residues in dairy and beef

by Tamara Scully

Drug residues, from antibiotics or other chemicals being given to livestock, are found in milk as well as in beef. These chemicals are “certainly problematic. If there’s a residue, then somehow that chemical got into the food,” Dr. Dwight Bruno, BSc, DVM, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets said in a recent PRO-DAIRY workshop addressing milk quality. The workshop — the third in a three-part series held this winter — was broadcast live to various viewing locations throughout the state.

One hundred percent of repeat violators — those with more than one instance of drug residue in milk and/or in beef animals — in New York State in 2014 were cited for neomycin or other drugs in veal calves, Bruno said. This could be directly correlated to feeding bob veal calves medicated milk replacer. [Read more…]

Permaculture: strategies for diversification

by Katie Navarra

A lot of people are talking about permaculture, a system that relies on designing planting configurations to work more like an ecosystem. Until recently, the practice has largely been associated with the landscape industry. However, farms nationwide ranging from less than five acres in production to more than 100 acres in production are beginning to incorporate the principles of permaculture on their farms.

During the e-Organic webinar, Permaculture on Organic Farms, Rafter Ferguson along with Ron Revord and Kevin Wolz, all graduate students at the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign campus, explained the basics of permaculture, offered information on how to incorporate the concept on farms and discussed opportunities and challenges associated with a permaculture design system. [Read more…]

2015 CNY Small Grain Workshop ~ Part 2

CEW-MR-1-Small grainpt2by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Professor Margaret Smith, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Breeding and Genetics, informed attendees at the 2015 CNY Small Grain Workshop about small grain variety trial results and performance in New York State.

Smith reported that regional testing sites are scattered across the state, providing a wide range of results, while adding to the multi-year data base. [Read more…]

Animal agriculture, climate change and sustainability

by Tamara Scully

There isn’t one set definition of sustainable practices for livestock production. Even among producers, sustainable production is based on a variety of perspectives, and takes multiple forms. While debates on grass-fed production, confined animal feeding operations, synthetic inputs and other practices often divide those in the agricultural sector, non-farmers are also weighing in with their own definitions of sustainable livestock production.

“We definitely have issues with miscommunication,” when 98 percent of eaters are non-farmers, Sarah Place, Ph.D, assistant professor, Sustainable Beef Cattle Systems, Oklahoma State University said.

Environmental impact, social issue, and economic viability are all components of sustainable farming systems, according to Place. Sustainability, from the producer’s perspective, has to encompass long-term business viability, stewardship of natural resources, animal welfare, and responsibility to the community and to the family. [Read more…]