Concerns about cow comfort haven’t changed much in 130 years other than to diversify those concerns. “When we look at a cow’s day, 75 percent is spent eating and resting,” said Penn State’s Dan McFarland, a Capitol Region Extension Educator from York County PA. “So time away from the pen becomes pretty important.” McFarland was one of the presenters at the 2015 Lebanon Dairy & Crops Compliance Days at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center. When we think of the creature comforts, cow comfort specifically, it is often a passing thought, another one of those incidentals. Dan McFarland is different. He and a handful of ag engineering confreres who are similarly inclined not only think about it; they think about it from this angle and that. They hypothesize and theorize over creature comfort dimensions and measurements to the nth degree, putting it all under the theoretical microscope of time and motion study. Accordingly, he and his wide range of associates have produced charts and graphs to explain how to make life better for cows during every waking, and sleeping, moment. [Read more…]
by George Looby
The National Research Council has come forth with the recommendation that there is a need for a greater investment to support additional research in the area of animal science. This investment is needed to meet the anticipated increase in the global demand for animal protein by mid century. Not only will there be an increase in demand but also that it be produced in an economical and sustainable way. It might be said that sustainability is an effort to minimize the adverse effects of human activity by implementing practices that more friendly to the environment in all areas where humans are the major disruptive force. Something as simple as replacing incandescent bulbs and turning off lights when not in use would be a relatively painless way to start such program.
Addressing the need for more animal protein world-wide in the traditional, time honored way is probably not the answer, thus the need to seek alternative methods from those now in place in many of more advanced countries of the world. [Read more…]
Harrisonburg, VA – The Virginia No-Till Alliance held its 6th annual conference in early February. Like last year, the meeting was held first at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds and then repeated, with a few variations, the following day at the Olde Dominion Ag Complex in Chatham. About 300 people attended the event’s first day, and a good crowd was on hand in Chatham, too. On both days, farmers and ag professionals from around Virginia gathered to listen to featured speakers, enjoy fellowship with each other, and take in information at trade shows.
Jason Geesaman, of Cullen, was at the Harrisonburg event. “I learned a lot about cover crops,” he said. Jason and his father Sam, who was also present at the meeting, raise, cattle, hay, row crops, and broilers for Tyson. “What I’m learning about cover crops is to plant shorter season corn,” Sam said. “Last year we did cut back on maturity,” and the approach was successful – they were able to get cover crops established behind the early season corn. [Read more…]
For the 160 attendees that attended this year’s Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day, there was a lot to learn about how grading and labeling of beef takes place. With PSU Retired Extension Economist, Lou Moore leading the way, Dr. Ty Lawrence, director of the Beef Carcass Research Center at West Texas A&M University and Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Penn State Meat Extension Specialist, together put on what this writer considers one of the most interesting cattle feeder days in recent memory. They touched on everything from the state of the current U.S. and World Ag economies to meat product labeling. Dr. Lawrence focused on how to finish beef cattle to receive the best sale price for the effort. Together, these three experts gave an informative overview, covering everything from what goes into Nathan’s Hot Dogs to the political wranglings of foreign nations as they deal with U.S. farmers. At the end of the day, there was much to contemplate. [Read more…]
Dairy farmer Walt Moore says prior to 2007, his farm had several workers compensation claims. “We had one really big one,” he said. “The herd manager was injured while moving a heifer. He came back in limited capacity, but was never able to fully return to work.”
After several more claims, Moore’s rates went up. Eventually, his insurance company decided that the farm was a high risk and dropped them. “We had to go with the state workers program,” said Moore, adding that he had to stay with that program for three years. “The rates are substantially higher than commercial insurance.” [Read more…]
CLINTON, NY — Many American farmers have readily adopted GPS technology and can appreciate the uses of computers throughout the farm and around the home, but are they ready for the next wave of technology?
Enter drones. Even if you are ready, hold onto your hat. Drones are not merely toys, but neither are they the fearsome military vehicles you’ve seen on the TV news.
Jeff Miller of Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension enlightened farmers about the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or systems (UAS) during the 2015 Oneida County Crop Congress, sponsored by Clinton Tractor. [Read more…]
LIVERPOOL, NY — Cazenovia Equipment, a farm equipment dealership in central and northern New York, isn’t waiting for farmers to catch up with technology — it’s already pushing the envelope in that direction.
Cazenovia Equipment began promoting and demonstrating unmanned aerial vehicles or drones for agricultural use at various trade shows in 2014. It has purchased four UAVs from Precision Drone, an Indiana company.
Cazenovia Equipment’s website has a special section devoted to the UAVs. It sells three different Precision Drone models, all helicopter-style (hexacopters) that have six rotors. [Read more…]
On a farm situated on a high ridge between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, a twelfth generation farmer is pursuing her dream. Sarah Van Orden grew up on her family’s dairy farm in the Catskills area, and after completing her formal education at Cornell, she and her partner Charlie Morrow are successfully raising Brown Swiss and operating Crosswinds Farm and Creamery in Ovid, NY.
“My grandfather had Brown Swiss in the 50s and 60s, and that’s how I got hooked on them,” said Sarah, explaining her passion for the breed. “They make the most sense as a breed — they produce the volume of a Holstein and closer to the same components as Jerseys. They’re very rugged and don’t have a lot of health problems, and have a low somatic cell count.” [Read more…]