Crop Comments: Old country gets ornery

In an article “Glyphosate Most Heavily Used Herbicide in History,” Mike Mozart stated that although enthusiasts for genetically engineered crops preach that this technology reduces herbicide use, the reverse is true. With the arrival of glyphosate-tolerant crops in 1996, use of that herbicide has increased by almost 2,000 percent in the U.S. and 1,500 percent worldwide. (More and more weeds have developed their own herbicide tolerance, resulting in the need for even more weed-killer applications.) Moreover, that between 1974 and 2014 over 3.5 billion pounds of this herbicide were applied in the U.S., with two-thirds of that amount being sprayed between 2004 and 2014. [Read more…]

Will New York dairies survive?

CW-MR-2-NY-Dairies-surviv1e2by Elizabeth A. Tomlin

If you listen to what dairy farmers are saying, you may conclude that New York State’s status as a “Dairy State” is unlikely to continue.

Small farms and large alike are being negatively impacted by the low milk prices and the numbers are staggering.

“We lost $3,000 in one month,” reports Terri Phillips of Dellavale Farm, Montgomery County. “I can’t imagine what it is on a bigger farm!” Dellavale milks about 50 cows.

Sandie Prokop co-owner of Schoharie County’s Crossbrook Dairy Farm, is milking nearly 400. “The main point is that at the end of the week, after 80-plus hours of work, my son — the daily manager — has zero dollars for all his work! Every penny that can be scraped up is spent for expenses.” [Read more…]

Recent developments with right-to-farm laws

CM-MR-50-2-Recent-de1velopments-0075by Steve Wagner

In 1911 the Spur family began to farm about 15 miles west of Phoenix, AZ. In 1956 Spur’s successors began to develop feedlots, and in May of 1959 developer Del Webb started planning a retirement community to be known as Sun City, about 10.5 miles north of the Spur feedlot. By 1965, the Del Webb community had expanded to within 500 feet of those feedlots. The proximity of the feedlots to the retirement community was bound to cause issues, and did. Some tenants had already moved in, but the fragrance of manure and accompanying flies started to inhibit housing sales. [Read more…]

Creamery Brook Bison: No buffalo here

CN-24-3-Creamery-brook-bison11by Kristen M. Castrataro

In 1981, when Austin Tanner and his wife Debbi first saw the dairy farm that would become Creamery Brook Bison in Brooklyn, CT, the first thing he noticed was the mulberry tree. He had grown up on a farm that had a tree just like it.

The Tanners milked cows for nearly a decade. In 1990, they acquired three bison cows and two calves at an auction because Austin had developed a fascination for the large, shaggy creatures. The following year they bought a bull and four additional cows. Now they have nearly 100 head of cows and young and two breeding bulls. [Read more…]

Automatic dairy farming: Part 2

CEW-MR-1-Automatic-Da1iry4by Tamara Scully

Dairy farmers recently gathered at Mor-Dale Farms, in Myersville, PA, to learn about automation: calf feeders, feed pushers, robotic milking systems and more. Part One discussed the use of automatic calf feeders as presented at the workshop “Automation and the Dairy Industry,” organized by Dr. Charles Garner, DVM.

Automatic feeding robots

Once calves mature, automation can still play a role in their daily feeding. Even in barns where humans — not robots — milk the cows, equipment, such as an automatic feed pusher, can simplify farm chores while helping to insure the cows consume the maximum dry matter intake, and are eating more of their daily rations. [Read more…]