Cow pie throwing contest at Eastern Rhode Island 4-H Fair

CN-MR-3-Cow pie throwing 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen
Glen Park in Portsmouth, RI hosted the Eastern RI 4-H Country Fair on the third weekend in July. Like so many 4-H Fairs, livestock and tractors were prominent. One fair contest featured livestock waste. Dried cow pies were used in a distance-throwing contest, instead of traditional balls or spears. Each contestant had two chances to throw a cow pie.
Mike Costa won the adult class in the Cow Pie Throwing Contest with his toss of 77’ 6”. Costa’s toss just barely beat the second place throw by Tyler Pimentel at 77’5”.
K. C. Bellavance’s 59’ cow pie throw won him first place in the children’s class, edging out Michael Aguiar’s second place toss.
Judging the contest was Amanda Leonardo from CAT Country radio’s morning show. The adult contest prize was $150. The children’s class prize was a $50 gift card to Barns & Noble. ‘A Traditional Sweep’ of Portsmouth, RI sponsored this event. [Read more…]

Early June downpours lead to variability in corn stands at Bow-Knott Dairy

CM-MR-2-Early June downpowers 2by Karl H. Kazaks
BOONES MILL, VA — In early June, many parts of Virginia and the mid-Atlantic experienced days and days of continuous rain. Even when it wasn’t raining, it was mostly overcast, with little direct sun.
At Bow-Knott dairy, Dale Boitnott’s dairy in Franklin County, the wet spring has impacted his farm in a number of ways. Small grains he intended to chop he instead combined or wet-baled. Corn fields he planted directly before the early June downpours have shown patchy variability, with some areas showing little or no emergence.
Boitnott is not sure why the bare patches have little or no corn plants. It could soil type, soil compaction, the lack of a crucial nutrient (perhaps sulfur — he has submitted samples for tissue analysis), maybe even planting depth or some combination of many factors.
“There’s some limiting factor, some straw that broke the camel’s back,” Boitnott said.
Given that the lean spots tend to be in low areas, though, Boitnott suspects that the lack of plants is the result of failure to germinate due to an oversupply of moisture.
“There’s a breaking point to everything — no moisture, too much moisture,” he said. “They just basically rotted in the ground.”
The fields with bare spots are protected by diversion ditches, but Boitnott figures they may not have been big enough to handle all of the rain that came down in early June. [Read more…]

Locals attend Junior National Hereford Show

CEW-MR-3-Jr National He#249by Rebecca Long Chaney
KANSAS CITY, MO — The “Show Me” state welcomed 660 junior Hereford exhibitors from 40 states with 1,100 head of cattle to the Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE). The annual event is held every year in a different state to showcase the nation’s top Hereford cattle and junior members compete in 23 skill-based contests.
According to Amy Cowan, Director of Hereford Youth Activities and the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA), the JNHE is the premier event each year that Hereford families look forward too. “Scholarship and education is the mission statement of the Foundation,” she said. “We have two components — we offer $50,000 in scholarships and we hope to grow the foundation. The short-term goal is raising one million to continue offering scholarships. The long-term goal is raising five million so we can use the interest for scholarships and other junior Hereford activities.”
East Coast youth made an impression at the national show. There were three junior exhibitors from Connecticut, one from Maine, 10 from Maryland, three from New Hampshire, eight from New Jersey, five from New York, 15 from Pennsylvania and four from Virginia. They exhibited nearly 100 Herefords, several winning top honors.
Doug Howe of Wagontown, PA, was happy there was a great delegation of Hereford youth representing the East and Northeast. Howe’s family operates Deanajak Farm and Howe is the chairman of the 2014 Junior National Hereford Expo to be held July 5-12 at the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg, PA. [Read more…]

Scouting to manage pests

CEW-MR-1-Scouting Pests669by Tamara Scully
Pest management means scouting for pests. If you don’t know what is out there, or if they are out there en masse or just at a tolerable level, any control program is going to be more costly and less effective than a targeted approach. Whether a young farmer, just learning the ropes, or an experienced grower needing to intensify pest management strategies, scouting more effectively, and learning how to use the results, is good practice.
Doug O’Brien, an agricultural consultant and adjunct professor at Cabrillo College, in California, teaching organic farming, and Helen Attowe, a farmer, organic farm consultant and former horticultural extension agent, recently addressed a web-based audience, providing scouting information, tips, tools and procedures.
“It all sounds really easy, but it isn’t,” O’Brien said. [Read more…]

The memories of the Saratoga County Fair

CE-MR-4-Saratoga County#3A0by Richard Smith, Saratoga County Extension Agent
Summers bring out the best in farm youth. Many of them besides doing their normal chores around the farm spend time preparing their animals for exhibition at the county fair. The 172nd Saratoga County Fair just finished and the 4-H’ers of Saratoga County took home numerous ribbons and trophies. Perhaps the realization of the overall wonderful experiences have not settled within their youthful and energetic minds just yet but they will for sure become part of their fond memories in time.
Whether it was the youngest of the eligible showman entering the ring with modest self-confidence for the first time, they all experienced the thrill of arriving at a moment in time that they’ve worked and waited for a very long time. When those proud youngsters proceed into the ring with heads held high and smiles that are endless little do they know their moment of pride is mild compared to the warmth and love within each parent or relative on the outside looking and tensely observing from the rings’ edge. Some parents coach by trying to catch their youngster’s eye, giving nonverbal instructions, while others look on with a silent prayer that their youth hasn’t forgotten all they’ve practiced for days on end prior to show day.
Now every youngster doesn’t end up the top showman of the day but all end up far ahead of those youngsters who grow up never realizing the skill, talent, determination, and confidence of character that each and every 4-H’er gains once they enter that ring. In the future they will be the doers and the individuals who will tackle the challenges presented to them and know that they can lead. [Read more…]