Bird friends, bird foes

2020-02-24T16:40:45-05:00February 24, 2020|Western Edition|

by Sally Colby

Farmers in some areas are reporting the presence of robins, the quintessential harbinger of spring. Others have heard red winged blackbirds, another sign of warmer days. But where’s the line between beneficial birds and those that cause crop damage, and are birds in decline? (more…)

Improving cow comfort at Envision Dairy LLC

2020-02-24T16:38:53-05:00February 24, 2020|Eastern Edition|

by Michael Wren

FLORIDA, NY — People have known for ages that a healthier and happier cow equates to better milk production and quality. However, even with this knowledge it can be easy to take the wrong steps toward cow comfort or push off improvements until a better time, which may or may not come. The truth is that not all improvements will be costly or time consuming. (more…)

Northeast Pasture Consortium accentuates the power of grass

2020-02-24T16:41:13-05:00February 24, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Troy Bishopp

FAIRLEE, VT – With millions of acres of pastureland and hay crops, the wise use and management of grasslands and forage systems to power the Northeast economy, regenerate agriculture, feed the populace and provide ecosystem services is immense. These humble sods contain opportunities to improve agriculture sustainability while solving many climate resiliency and food sovereignty issues. However, the quiet grass needs some PR now and then to accentuate the positives. (more…)

Integrating automated health monitoring tech into dairy herds

2020-02-14T16:41:47-05:00February 14, 2020|Western Edition|

by Katie Navarra

Labor continues to top farmers’ lists of operational challenges. Finding reliable labor and affording wages without sacrificing cow health is a critical issue. Health sensor monitoring technologies are one option dairy farmers have for streamlining human labor while still providing critical care for their cows. Automated health monitoring tech and its place in dairy herd health management was the focus of a Cornell PRO-DAIRY webinar led by Julio Giordano, DVM, MS, Ph.D., a member of Cornell University’s Department of Animal Science. (more…)

Farmer discussion groups

2020-02-14T16:39:07-05:00February 14, 2020|Eastern Edition|

by Katie Navarra

In 1960, minimum wage was $1/hour. Today, it’s $11.80/hour. Sixty years ago, farmland in New York’s Washington County sold for $75/acre. Conservative figures as of November 2019 estimate agricultural land in the area is valued close to $2,500/acre. Just 10 years ago, the average annual family health insurance costs were about $11,100. In 2019, that was nearly double at $20,756. (more…)

Mitigating social stress in dairy cattle

2020-02-24T16:36:31-05:00February 14, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, Western Edition|

by Sally Colby

Stress studies in humans clearly show social environment stressors are among the most serious stressors we face. Factors such as a low socio-economic status or not having a good social support network can have a major impact on our health, and caregivers often experience social stress. Many aspects of what has been learned about human stress can be applied to livestock. (more…)

Spring lamb or not?

2020-02-14T16:26:50-05:00February 14, 2020|New England Farm Weekly|

by George Looby

To many, the term “spring lamb” has a positive ring to it – a hopeful term that signals the decline of winter, the approach of Easter and a time to get the peas planted. It marks the time of the year when traditional sheep operations are at the very peak of their activity. These farms must carefully plan the time their lambs are born in order to be ready for the Easter market. (more…)

Learning by doing

2020-02-14T16:20:48-05:00February 14, 2020|New England Farm Weekly|

by Sally Colby

When Elizabeth “Lizz” McGlaughlin was a student in the pre-vet program at the University of Maine, she didn’t appreciate the time she was required to spend at the school’s dairy farm. She was more interested in horses, and her plan was to prepare for a career of researching heart problems in race horses. (more…)

Dealing with dystocia

2020-02-10T16:35:03-05:00February 10, 2020|Eastern Edition, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

Dr. Steve Hendrick, DVM, says one of the most critical steps in reducing disease and loss in newborn calves is reducing dystocia.

Hendrick cited a study that examined the causes of calf mortality, and said the main cause of death in stillborn calves was due to dystocia. Other causes of stillborn calves include thyroid gland lesions, myocardial necrosis or myopathy (dead or dying heart muscle or dysfunctional heart) and skeletal myopathy or necrosis. (more…)