County princesses and the public’s disconnect with dairy

CWM-MR-3-County princesses 2by Steve Wagner
Sometimes writing up the Dairy Princess Coronation, which is a kind of milky nightcap to the All American Dairy Show that closes a week before, is like penning a theatrical review. There is much theater with princess contestants donning costumes and regaling speeches about the virtues of their chosen interest. There is pageantry with formal entrances and fewer formal exits. A keyboardist plays subtle milk cocktail segue music to ease the audience from one segment into another. The event closes with the inauguration of a state dairy princess and two alternates, a trio who will spend much of the remainder of this year and most of the next promoting dairy farming around the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And of course, there are a plethora of awards and recognitions for contributions above and beyond the call of duty. [Read more…]

The corn is off – now what?

CEWM-MR-2-Corn is off 2by Sally Colby
It’s been an interesting season for growing corn. While some farmers are bringing in record yields, others are lamenting a season that was simply too wet and cool. Once the ground is bare, what’s next? Some fields in which silage corn was grown will be planted immediately with a winter cover crop, but it isn’t too early to consider what the field will be used for the following spring.
“Alternative cover crops offer opportunities to diversify crop rotation systems,” said Charlie White, Penn State extension associate in sustainable agriculture. “These cover crops are planted later in the season — late summer after small grain harvest.” Another option is to harvest a winter cover crop and allow a legume more time to fix nitrogen, or to have an earlier planting date for cover crops in the fall to get them well-established.
Less common species such as sorghum sudangrass, cowpeas and radish afford more diversity in a crop rotation. In many cases, seed for some of the alternative cover crops costs less so there’s a higher economic return on marginal land. These forage crops are often more heat and drought tolerant, so they’re suitable for ground where corn silage hasn’t done well. [Read more…]

Holistic management: land, people and profit

CEW-MR-2-Holistic manag#175by Tamara Scully
Holistic Management International is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization, based in New Mexico. HMI is focused on improving farm sustainability via a management training program which addresses environmental, economic, and social issues on the farm.
Recently, staff from the New Mexico office, along with several New York-based certified HMI educators and local grazing experts, gathered to lead three dozen participants on a workshop tour of Creekside Meadows Farm, in DeRuyter, NY.
Holistic Management planning
Erica Frenay, a certified HMI educator, farmer, and coordinator of the Cornell Small Farms Northeast Beginning Farmer Program, explained how Holistic Management can “create a foundation to set our farm up for success in the long-term.” [Read more…]

National Angus Tour highlights

CEW-MR-2-Angus highlights32by Steven E Smith
Some of the richest history in the American Aberdeen Angus breed was written in the Hudson Valley during the twentieth century. This year’s National Angus Tour brought Angus breeders from across the country to Eastern New York for a tour of some of the Angus herds that helped drive the breed to a place of dominance in the beef industry today.
Garret Farm
The first farm on the tour was in Hillsdale, NY, at the Garret Farm. Owner Garret Matteo, who started his operation in 1976, stated he enjoyed the privilege of hosting the event. He told guests how they raise cattle in northern Columbia County. “We have a phenotype focus tempered with weigh gain performance and fertility. We are managing our pairs on about 1.5 acres each. For the winter months, we feed our own haylage, baleage and winter barley silage. By using barley in the rotation, we can harvest in the boot stage and turn around and plant short day corn or soybeans. Ultimately, corn silage though is key to high performance. With our calves born from January to March, we have cattle on forages and calves who are creep fed to get our animals off to a good start,” said Matteo. [Read more…]