New Barnyard for Heifers Helps Improve Water Quality
The VanValkenburgh family owns and operates Buckridge Farm in the town of Roxbury. They milk 71 Holstein and Jersey cows and have 70 youngstock on their 310 acre dairy farm. The VanValkenburghs grow all of their own forage which consists of alfalfa/grass hay and corn silage.
Over the past 15 years, New York City Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), in cooperation with NRCS, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, have worked together to implement a number of best management practices on the VanValkenburgh’s farm to address water quality concerns. The last remaining issue that needed to be addressed was a heifer feeding area. The feeding area was in a hydrologically sensitive area and had no adequate filtering area for runoff before it reached the stream. Manure cleanup from this feeding area was extremely difficult.
In 2013, a covered barnyard for their 70 heifers was designed and constructed using USDA’s Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) and WAC funding. The new 50’x50’ covered heifer barnyard will control manure runoff from the area. The facility also allows for manure from the barnyard to be collected, stored in the VanValkenburgh’s manure storage, and spread in accordance with a Nutrient Management Plan. This allows for effective nutrient distribution across the farm’s land base.
If you want to learn how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.