Promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems

by Katie Navarra

Honey bees are the most widely known pollinator species. However, recent research shows there are numerous pollinator species and that the more diverse the species the increased pollination benefits. “There are thousands of bee species, some are solitary, some nest in the ground, others in twigs and trees,” explained David Crowder, Assistant Professor of Entomology at Washington State University.

During an eOrganic webinar, Crowder and Elias Bloom, a Ph.D. student in Entomology working in Crowder’s lab, discussed the diversity of native bees in farming systems and the roles they may play in supplement or replacing honey bees for pollination services. [Read more…]

New Hampshire recognizes UNH Fairchild Dairy as quality milk producer

CN-DY-1-FAIRCHILD-DAIRY01DURHAM, NH — The Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, a facility of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES) at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA), has been recognized by the state as a New Hampshire Quality Milk Producer. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services cited the farm’s efforts for 2014. The dairy farm had an average inspection score of 96 out of 100, and excellent scores related to animal health. [Read more…]

Stay safe when handling sheep

CM-MR-2-Stay-safe625by Sally Colby

It’s hard to imagine that sheep dotting a green pasture could cause any harm, but there are plenty of ways to become injured while working with sheep. It’s important to understand the basics of how and why sheep move the way they do to prevent injuries to both humans and animals. Any time a sheep is separated from its group is an opportunity for injury to the handler or the sheep.

[Read more…]

Managing pests of herb and vegetable bedding plants

by Katie Navarra

“Biological control programs use living organisms that are natural enemies of insects to control pests and diseases,” said Leanne Pundt, Extension Educator for University of Connecticut at the Litchfield County Extension Center.

“They do not act as quickly as pesticides, so cannot be used as a rescue treatment. Natural enemies are best used preventatively, early in the cropping cycle, when plants are small, pest numbers are low and pest damage has not yet occurred,” she added.

Biological controls also reduce worker exposure to pesticide and pesticide residues, limits spray damage, requires limited equipment for application and improves plant quality. Integrating biological controls also lengthens the lifespan of effective pesticides used in greenhouses by reducing opportunity for the development of resistance. [Read more…]

Animal care in USDA Research Program

by George Looby

One of the most important of the USDA’s many departments, units or sections is the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) where wide ranges of agriculturally related research programs are conducted. If it pertains in any way to agriculture there is very likely some sort of research going on in that particular area. One of the many components within the ARS is the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) located in Clay Center, NE.

The mission statement of this program is to develop scientific information and new technology to solve high priority problems for the U.S. beef, sheep and swine industries. The research is directed toward problems of national concern and to meeting USDA’s Action Agencies research needs. Research approaches involve multidisciplinary teams with emphasis on both short-term and long-term solutions to improving animal production and product quality. [Read more…]