Getting in touch with your pasture soil

CEW-MR-4-Pasture soil1by Troy Bishopp, Madison Co. SWCD/Upper Susquehanna Coalition Grazing Specialist

WHITESVILLE, NY — While many farmers in Allegany and Steuben counties were out mowing hay after a week of severe thunderstorms, dairyman Chris Reinbold was hosting a workshop focused on learning more about soil health practices, biology and monitoring tools to improve his rotationally grazed pastures.

According to Steuben County’s Soil and Water Conservation District grazing specialist and co-organizer, Jonathan Barter, “Soil is a vibrant, living organism and not just a sterile medium for growing things. The way we have treated this life-giving resource is tragic.” Inspired by the way longtime graziers had sequestered the deluges of rain from Hurricane Sandy, he and Scott Alsworth from the Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District set out to change the conversation about soil after taking a soil health training regime at USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Material Center in Corning, NY. [Read more…]

Transition is the ‘danger zone’ for dairy calving

CN-MR-1-Dairywebinarby T.W. Burger

The period just before and after calving can be a very dangerous time for a dairy cow, says Gustavo M. Schuenemann, DVM, MS, PhD, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio State, and OSU Extension veterinarian.

“That transition period, especially during delivery and the week before and after, are critical point in the cow’s life, he said. “That will dictate how a cow performs later on, if they get sick or develop metabolic diseases.”

But with knowledge and focused analysis on the part of owners and workers, the cow’s odds can be improved and the owners’ profitability enhanced, said Schuenemann. [Read more…]

Growing canola as a component of dairy feed

CM-CN-MR-2-Growing canola1766by Sally Colby

A field of bright yellow canola is a pretty sight, although most people don’t know what it is when they see it. The terms canola and rapeseed are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same crop.

Canola is essentially improved rapeseed. Rapeseed contains high levels of certain compounds that make it unpalatable to livestock. In the early 1970s, after improving the palatability, oil quality and protein level, the crop became known as canola. To be called canola, the crop must test below established levels for erucic acid and glucosinolates; the two undesirable compounds in rapeseed. The term ‘canola’ comes from the term ‘Canadian oil’. [Read more…]

Northern VA cattlemen see their gift return hope in western South Dakota

CEWM-MR-3-SDHeiffers3by Sherry Bunting

In the agriculture community, it’s not hard to find examples of folks “giving forward” in ways that make America great. One such example was to be found in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley this past winter and spring. The Rockingham Feeder Calf Association organized two cattle drives through the Heifers for South Dakota (HSD) project to help replenish losses and lift the spirits of fellow ranchers nearly 2,000 miles away after the unexpected pre-season Winter Storm Atlas devastated ranches along Highway 34 into the Black Hills region during the first week of October. [Read more…]