CM-MR-4-Yippee3by Sally Colby

Yippee! Farms is big, but there are no expansive modern freestall barns and no double-18 herringbone parlor. None of the barns are drive-through, so mixing feed for the cows and replacement stock in seven locations is a full-time job. Calves are housed simply and bred heifers are raised in barns on several farms. But the 830 milking cows are healthy and well-managed, and consistently maintain a RHA of 29,000 pounds.

How do Yippee! Farms owners Arlin and Deborah Benner do it? By making sure the little things are done right at their common-sense, no-frills dairy in Mount Joy, PA. [Read more…]

Corn rootworms suspected of resistance to Bt corn varieties discovered in Pennsylvania

CM-MR-4-Rootworm1by John Tooker, PSU Entomology Specialist

For the past few years, folks in Pennsylvania have heard reports from midwestern states of continuous corn growers struggling to control populations of western corn rootworms that developed resistance to some Bt corn varieties. Thus far, this problem has occurred elsewhere, with the closest fields with suspected resistance being found in central Michigan and New York, north of Ithaca. Unfortunately, this problem may now have found a home in Pennsylvania. [Read more…]

Lady Antebellum sang as calves were being born

CM-MR-2-Rock0509by Laura Rodley

Where else would you expect to see country music group Lady Antebellum performing and live calves being born on the same grounds, both attended by huge and adoring crowds? At the Delaware State Fair, of course. Lady Antebellum was the musical headliner on Saturday, July 26. Over in the Birthing Center, a crowd of 100 packed into a tent, waiting for a cow to calve. The calving was attended by several veterinarians. In an exciting mixture of agriculture and technology, more than 8,000 people had downloaded an app from the fair website to their smartphones to be alerted when a birth was imminent. [Read more…]

Managing feed from the other end of the cow

CN-MN-MR-2-Managing-feed160by Sally Colby

There was a time when a dairy farmer’s biggest concern about manure was whether the gutter cleaner was functional, if the tractor might break down or if there was a spare hand to send to the field with a spreader full of manure. The chemistry of that manure was probably not at the top of the farmer’s mind.

Although farmers have been using manure to their advantage for centuries, increased knowledge about the impact of manure on the environment has led to science-based research and legislation that dictates how manure must be handled. [Read more…]

Overcoming life’s challenges

CM-MR-3-Overcoming-life2158by Sally Colby

Michelle Kirk took her husband Bill to the emergency room in September 2012 because he hadn’t recovered from what they thought was a minor illness. They were shocked to find that Bill was in kidney failure, but doctors didn’t know the reason. After exhaustive testing, Bill was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer. Over the next several months, he underwent stem cell treatment, dialysis and chemotherapy. In February 2013, Michelle brought him home from an extended hospital stay, right in the middle of calving season. She says the first thing Bill requested when he returned home was to be driven to the pasture to see his cows. But keeping him inside as he continued his recovery proved to be difficult. [Read more…]