Crop Comments: Harnessing the Fringe

2020-08-13T13:14:04-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

There are at least a couple options for planting forages that really put to good use the cooler conditions that surround Indian Summer in the Northeast. The best time to plant these “packages,” seldom just a single species, is the middle 10 days of August. The question then is where to plant these. Many folks were able to get 75- to 80-day corn planted more or less on time, despite a chilly, drawn-out April. According to my April electric bill statement, the average temperature in Otsego County was 41º F. Throughout April 2020, the only crops that looked good were late summer/early fall-planted small grains/winter forages. (more…)

Crop Comments: Another dynamic duo

2020-08-13T12:46:57-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

Mid-spring 1977, in my role as agronomy cooperative extension agent for Otsego County, I attended a field crop demonstration at one of Cornell’s off-campus research facilities. Several agronomy professors were stationed at their own demonstration sites. These educators would explain the details of their experiments to guests, mostly farmers. The presentation that I remember best was given by Robert Seaney, PhD. (more…)

Crop Comments: Trendy cereal grain has black-sheep weed cousin

2020-08-13T12:20:29-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

The Veterans Administration Medical Service is very concerned about the physical (as well as mental) well being of former Armed Forces personnel. As a member of this distinguished group, I qualify for many medical benefits. One such benefit is the counseling service of a licensed dietician. The VA believes that a healthy diet helps veterans avoid becoming inpatients at their hospitals. In a tele-health visit this past February (before COVID-19 made such medical regimen part of the “new normal”), I met with such a dietician: she at the VA Hospital in Albany — myself at the VA clinic in Bainbridge, NY. I explained my diet to her, mentioning that every other day my breakfast consists of a blend of oatmeal and grits… both organic (she liked that). (more…)

Crop Comment: Moisture-miser millet

2020-08-13T11:10:53-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

Early this month, the weather reporter on the Utica TV station announced that the official precipitation total for May was a little less than 0.5 inch. Normal rainfall for that location and period is about three inches. Throughout most of the Northeast this statistic is not unusual. Folks receiving more rain than that have been fortunate, and acknowledge that their water blessing has been sporadic: many of their neighbors were totally by-passed by heavenly spigots’ generosity. One farmer, whom I advise (about 15 miles north of my home) received one inch of fairly hard rain last Friday. Most of his cropland is in sod, and his fields in corn and soybean have healthy soils. So he experienced no visible soil loss — even on what the Soil and Water people call HEL (highly erodible land). From the same thunderstorm system, downtown Hartwick (my home) received about 0.01 inch of rain. (more…)

Crop Comments: Thirty-nine months of carbon loss

2020-08-13T10:31:06-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

This past February, Edward contacted me for help resolving some cropping issues — hopefully before the next growing season started. He runs an organic cash grain operation in western New York. His main crops are corn and soybeans. His biggest complaint was that the straight buckwheat stand he planted in 2019 — to give the land a break from corn and soybean — performed rather poorly. I asked him if he was able to plant winter forages (or cover crops) following the combining of these grains. By the time he gets his corn grain combined, he said it’s too late to plant anything else, and have it get a good start before winter sets in. (more…)

Crop Comments: Alfalfa still queen?

2020-08-13T10:20:42-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

While visiting the Cornell Valatie (Field Crops) Research Farm (Columbia County, NY), during late July 2012, I learned something interesting about alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Namely that some of the higher protein test values in early cut — properly managed — M. sativa hay crops fell in the category of “less than meets the eye.” I had long known that some of these higher protein figures — say the difference between 20% and 24% tended to be more soluble. That being the case, often this extra protein actually introduced more non-protein-nitrogen (NPN, basically all soluble) to the dairy cow than her rumen can efficiently metabolize. Total protein solubility in the lactating dairy cow’s diet should fall in the 30-33% range. (more…)

Rutgers Equine Science Center’s virtual Summer Showcase

2020-08-13T13:12:06-05:00August 13, 2020|Eastern Edition, Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Judy Van Put

Recently, Rutgers University Equine Science Center presented its first Virtual Summer Showcase. Although similar in content to Summer Showcase events in the past, by taking place online, participants needed only to log on to participate. The event was free of charge, and the program was open to anyone who registered in advance. I was happy I did, as the two-hour seminar provided a very enjoyable and educational afternoon. (more…)

Women Farmer Lunch Break: Ergonomics and safety on the farm

2020-09-04T10:23:26-05:00August 13, 2020|Mid Atlantic, New England Farm Weekly, Western Edition|

by Katie Navarra

Female farmers face unique production challenges – one of which is that tools aren’t designed for their bodies. During a recent webinar, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Field Specialists Elaina Enzien and Kelly Mcadam offered tips to help women protect their most important tools – their bodies – through ergonomics. (more…)