Identifying mastitis

CDM-MR-2-MASTITIS_3601by Steve Wagner

Mastitis is the most common disease affecting dairy cattle. “Preventing mastitis is certainly important but identifying it is equally important,” said Ernest Hovingh, DVM/PhD, a highly visible presence at ag gatherings, he averages about 100 presentations a year, often more. His original topic at the 2015 Lebanon Dairy & Crops Compliance Day was ‘Objectively Investigating Milk Quality Issues’, but mastitis took front and center. After identifying mastitis, he says, “it must be properly managed.” Hovingh opened with a Socratic questioning method, wanting to know from attendees if they could tell from varied slides “whether or not this cow has mastitis”; if not, what could it be? [Read more…]

Italian and annual ryegrasses in northern cropping systems

CN-MR-1-ITALIAN-RYEGRASS1-6171by Daniel Hudson, UVM Extension Agronomist

Annual and Italian ryegrass have recently received more attention from farmers, university researchers, and the agricultural industry. Primary uses for this crop include: annual haylage crop, companion crop for new seedings of perennial forages (instead of oats), cover cropping, pasture enhancement, and erosion control. Under good management, ryegrass forage yield and quality are typically very impressive. Like most tools, if used properly it can be very profitable; if used improperly, this species can cause economic damage. Because of the similarities and between these grasses, the term ‘ryegrass’ will be used for in the remainder of this article unless important functional distinctions are being made. [Read more…]

Ayrshires thrive on pasture at Hardy Farm

CN-MR-2-HARDY-FARM-57521by Sally Colby

Like many New England farms, Hardy Farm is the result of multiple generations working together for the love of farming. Henry Hardy recalls in the early 1950’s, his father kept a few cows and worked at the local woolen mill, “We were a typical farm family.” he said. It wasn’t an easy journey from just a few cows to the successful rotational grazing operation in Farmington, Maine. In the 1940’s, the entire cowherd was lost to Bang’s disease (brucellosis or contagious abortion), which threatened many cattle herds prior to a national eradication effort. Determined to start again, the Hardys purchased any cattle available, Guernseys, Ayrshires and Holsteins. [Read more…]

Promoting native bee pollinators in organic farming systems

CM-MR-1-POLLINATORS_55591by 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. [Read more…]