Guardian plants offer simple, non-chemical pest management in field crop and greenhouse settings. Guardian plants include indicator plants, trap crops and banker plants. Their use can dramatically reduce the need for pesticides. Jack Manix, of Walker Farm in Vermont, said the key is to know your likely pests and plan ahead. Keep and consult last year’s records of pest outbreaks to anticipate when to expect repeat outbreaks of pests such as aphids, thrips, whitefly or spider mites. Establish your guardian plants before you are likely to have a pest problem. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]
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…]
Row after row of wires stretch across the field, into the distant horizon. The wires run horizontally, forming a four-wire trellis, with the tallest wire at about 10 feet, the lowest around two feet off the ground. Thin, tall trees grow vertically in rows, spaced a mere few feet apart, with bent branches, sloping down towards the ground. Small fruits line the branches, hinting at the season’s yet-to-be apple crop.
“I really don’t know anything about growing apples,” said farmer Greg Donaldson, who is primarily a vegetable grower. [Read more…]