A career of teaching, learning and sharing

CM-MR-3-Jana-Malot-83417by Sally Colby

Jana Malot might be retired, but she’s hardly sitting still. After a 30-year career with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service as a state grassland conservationist, Jana is spending more time with her beef cattle and the land on which they graze.

Jana and her husband Clem raise beef cattle on about 300 acres in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, where rolling hills mean plenty of grazing land. With extensive experience in grassland management along with knowledge gleaned from others in the field, Jana has developed a system of grazing management that is constantly evolving as she observes both her cattle and the land they graze. [Read more…]

Milk marketing

CM-MR-1-Milk-marketing1by Tamara Scully

Commodity milk pays the bills – or is supposed to pay the bills – on most dairy farms today. Selling milk from the bulk tank to the dairy processors is how most milk and milk products travel from the farm to the consumer. Raw milk, on-farm pasteurization and direct fluid milk sales, or production of farmstead cheese, yogurt and ice cream, sold directly from the farm, is a rarer breed. [Read more…]

Barberic Farm

by Laura Rodley  

Up at Barberic Farm, Baguette, dressed in the finery of her silky brown fleece, greeted visitors in the sheep barn.  She was one of a set of Finnsheep quintuplets.  Quintuplets are not unusual for Finnsheep, or Finns, according to her owner, Barbara Goodchild, who owns the farm with her husband Eric.

Finnsheep, a heritage breed, are known for having multiple births. Sets of triplets and quadruplets are born regularly, according to the West Clarksville, NY based Finnsheep Breeders Association (FBA), with records of septuplets and octuplets. It is not uncommon for yearling ewes to have twins or triplets. Finnsheep have plentiful milk and make excellent mothers. “I truly believe that with proper nutritional management and shepherding, the Finnsheep can meet any goal that the shepherds aim them for,” said FBA secretary Mary Tucker. [Read more…]

The new normal

CEW-MR-2-The-new-normal2by Steve Wagner

Ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was once asked a hypothetical question by a member of the media, and answered, “I don’t do hypotheticals!” But as hypotheticals go, some are necessary. Penn-Ag’s Executive Vice President Chris Herr rightly noted in discussing steps being taken to cope with High Pathogenic Avian Influenza, “what you’re seeing is the new normal.” Jennifer Reed-Harry, speaking at an earlier seminar on emergency preparedness, said because HPAI has not been identified yet in Pennsylvania, we are theoretically on emergency stand-by. [Read more…]

Entrapment risk due to flowing grain

Summarized by Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University

Farmers and ranchers use bins to dry and store grain and to feed their livestock. For the most part, augers are used to transfer the grain to and from bins. Some machinery and augers now used in production agriculture have increased in size and power, resulting in less time for farmers and ranchers to react in dangerous situations. It is therefore important to understand fully the hazards and risks associated with flowing grain and to follow safety guidelines to avoid a potentially fatal injury incident. There are four main situations that pose entrapment risks when you work with stored grain: flowing grain, grain bridge collapse, grain wall avalanche, and use of a grain vacuum. Each of these situations and its entrapment risks are described below. [Read more…]