Make decisions regarding labor management and new equipment investment is something that most farmers face during normal business operations. Chris Blanchard of Purple Pitchfork shared his experience gathering accurate farm costs and production data for investment decisions at the 2014 Beginning Farmer Learning Network Conference recently. The lecture covered ways farmers can track, extrapolate and weigh labor costs and capacity against hiring staff or investing in tractors or other equipment; Using accurate data and careful budget analysis, farmers can maximize profits and make fewer poor decisions. Continue reading
LATHAM, NY — “Grass-Fed has only just begun,” said yogurt craftsman, Tim Joseph, the passionate owner of Maple Hill Creamery in Stuyvesant, NY. A theme that would echo throughout the 7th annual Winter Green-up Grass-fed Grazing Conference at the Century House in Latham, NY.
The dynamic duo of Albany County Cooperative Extension Educator, Tom Gallagher and grass-fed aficionado Morgan Hartman continue to draw capacity crowds in an effort to inspire, educate and create a family of would-be profitable grass farmers throughout the Northeast. This year was no exception. Continue reading
UTICA, NY — Emily Mikel of Stafford, NY, has just 35 registered Holsteins on her family’s farm in Genesee County. Don’t let that small number fool you.
The exceptional herd helped the 16-year-old high school junior walk away with an armful of awards at the New York State Junior Holstein Association’s state convention at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center on Jan. 18.
The three-day junior convention was preceded by the All-Breeds State Convention, also held in Utica, Jan. 15-17. Events at the junior convention included the election of junior officers, selection of Distinguished Junior Members, plus a speech contest, and Dairy Bowl and Dairy Jeopardy quiz competitions. Continue reading
There’s a lot of talk these days about different grazing systems. Mob grazing, management intensive grazing (MIG), ultra-high stock density (UHSD) grazing and tall grass grazing systems. Most concentrate on beef cattle production. But can these systems translate to dairy cows? In a system where dairy profitability and milk production is dependent upon excellent forage quality and dry matter intake, can these type of grazing strategies make sense?
Mena Hautau, field and forage crop educator with Berks County Extension, recently decided to take a look at what type of “mob grazing” was already happening on southeast Pennsylvania grazing dairies. A Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant allowed her to observe grazing systems on four dairies which have already incorporated some type of intensive, managed grazing system, and are grazing tall grass, using frequent rotations, and grazing in higher densities. They were also all certified organic, although this was not intentional, and all were being managed by dairymen with more than two decades of experience. The dairies are grazing-based dairies with little grain or total mixed rations being fed. Continue reading