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Grazette Newsletter - August 2012

Web image: Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative - Grazettte Newsletter







August 2012 Edition

It seems that the drought pattern has finally been broken, at least a little bit, for many of us in the Northeast! The last week or so has brought a nice mixture of thunderstorms and more extended periods of soaking rain in many locations. Hopefully this pattern will continue so pastures will re-grow, as well as give a boost to other crops that have been set back by lack of moisture.

Please continue to send in notices of pasture walks and workshops by three days prior to the end of each month. The Grazette is distributed monthly.

Upcoming Pasture Workshops and Related Events

Fencing Types and Techniques for a Diverse Farm

When: Thursday, August 9th – 10:00 am to 1:30 pm
Where: Cobblestone Valley Enterprises, 2023 Preble Road, Preble (Cortland County) - Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) 2012 Farmers of the Year

Web link image: Cobblestone Valley FarmTour this multi-generation dairy and crop farm committed to maintaining a diverse, Organic family-led operation. After introducing us to the farm’s many enterprises, the Knapp family will treat us to an informative lesson on appropriate fencing for poultry and dairy animals. Species-specific requirements, proper construction, reliable materials sources and the expected investment and replacement timeline will be covered in detail. All attendees will be guided through a fencing needs calculation activity to apply this information to their own situation, be it an upgrade, installation or a design idea for this crucial infrastructure on their own farm.

NOFA-NY is pleased to offer a Beginning Farmer field day and celebration of the Knapp family’s past, present and future in sustainable agriculture. Experienced and aspiring farmers, especially mentor farmers and their apprentices, are encouraged to participate in this day together, taking time to gather and celebrate farmers during a potluck lunch.

Cobblestone Valley Farm is a multi-generational farm started in the late 1800’s and currently run by Paul and Maureen Knapp and their three sons, Evan, Blaise and Casey. In addition to dairy, the farm produces and direct markets Certified Organic pastured poultry, grass-fed beef, and pork; pick-your-own strawberries; and compost.

FREE for members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York / $15 All Others.

This field day is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2011-49400-30510 and Grant # 2009-49400-05878, and the New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (NYS GLCI).

Managing A Grazing Dairy

When: Tuesday, August 14th – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Dan and Ann Carey’s Farm, 305 Lick Street, Groton (Tompkins County)

The Carey’s have been operating a grazing dairy since 1998. They currently milk 200 cows and attribute some of their farm’s success to grazing. The Carey’s will talk about how they manage their dairy to maximize the time and labor advantages which grazing can offer. We will tour the fencing and water system the Carey’s have developed over the years and discuss Cornell’s Dairy Farm Business Summary and how it can help measure some of the benchmarks of a grazing dairy. There will be information on how to use Risk Management ”Pasture Rangeland and Forage Policy” to protect their feed supply from drought.

RSVP requested to help plan lunch. E-mail Sharon VanDeuson or call 607-753-5078. Sponsoring this event is New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Risk Management Education.

Web image: A photo from the 1940s showing farmers attending a talk on improved  pasture
Full screen view

Jefferson/Lewis Dairy Grazing Discussion Group

Tuesday, August 14th, Two farm locations

Part One

When: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Joe, Sue and Bronson Shultz, Ara-Kuh Farm and Shultz Family Cheese, 7956 Number Three Road, Lowville (Lewis County)

The Shultz family has been rotational grazing since the mid 80’s, starting with Joe’s Dad, Tom. They currently have a registered herd of 50 cows. Their grazing strategy involves continuing to supplemental feed forages and grain throughout the grazing season. Some of the land has been in long term pasture while other fields are in a corn/hay rotation and are sometimes utilized as part of the grazing system. In 2011 Joe, Sue and their son Bronson began an on-farm cheese making business focusing on Cheese Curd.

Lunch is on your own. Water and snacks provided.

Part Two

When: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: Larry Herr, Herrdale Farm, 7161 West Road, Lowville (Lewis County)

The Herr family grazes a herd of grass fed beef. Larry has put a large emphasis on soil quality, selecting grazing management, rotation and tillage practices to maintain a healthy soil and land productivity. With the beef herd Larry has also experimented with mob grazing/leaf grazing to extend the grazing season.

For more information

E-mail Ron Kuck at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Jefferson County or call 315-788-8450,
E-mail Joe Lawrence, at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Lewis County, or call 315-376-5270.

Advantages of Pasture Raised Pork

When: Wednesday, August 15th – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: The Piggery, 5948 Sycamore Creek Drive, Trumansburg (Tompkins County)Web link image: The Piggery

Join Casey Oxley farm manager for The Piggery to discuss pasture vs. barn raised pigs. Come hear the advantage of pigs on pasture! Casey will discuss how their pasture rotations work, describe their fencing techniques, and talk about the magic of pigs. Also hear from Heather and Brad Marshall, owners of The Piggery, about the history of the business, their processing, and their marketing.

The Piggery is a family owned farm that raises natural pastured pork. It is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes on 60 acres of beautiful land. In 2006 Heather and Brad Marshall did everything from feeding pigs to marketing meat to making sausage. In 2010 Casey Oxley came on as the farm manager so Heather and Brad could focus on the restaurant in Ithaca. Since then they have been working together as big family to bring good food to the community.

Free for NOFA-NY members and $15 for all others. For more information contact Stephanie Backer-Bertsch at NOFA-NY at 585-271-1979 extension 509. Supported in part by USDA Risk Management Agency, Education and Community Outreach Program and New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

Silvopasture Walk

When: Thursday, August 16th – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Woodwatch Farm, Trush Family, 2011 Firetower Road, Georgetown (Madison County)

The walk will be led by Schuyler County CCE Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, forest practitioner, and grass farmer Brett Chedzoy. The 300 acre beginning Highland beef cattle operation is a mix of open grasslands, transitional wooded areas and forest that could be enhanced by exploring the techniques of silvo-pasturing. Topics to be discussed include: Basic planning criteria and practical application including a realistic budget, tree species, site selection and thinning options, animal needs and grazing impact, shelter-breaks and out-wintering considerations and managing the whole system with long term goals in mind. Please prepare for the weather.

Madison County Twilight Pasture Walk

When: Wednesday, August 22nd – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Dave Stratton Farm, 5625 Reservoir Road, Earlville (Madison County)

A comprehensive look into the many grazing strategies put in place on this 50 cow seasonal operation. Dave will describe his experiences in using a grazing planning chart, grazing high quality swards for energy and diversity, dealing with drought, maintaining animal health, feeding supplemental molasses and minerals, applying milk, gypsum, poultry litter, compost and other amendments to the soil and developing a gravity flow water system throughout the farm.

Attend these great local events to get practical ideas, network with other farmers and enjoy some ice-cream. Both events are supported by the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District ( SWCD), Upper Susquehanna Coalition, New York State Agricultural Environmental Management Program, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative.

To register for either event or to get more information, e-mail Troy Bishopp, “The Grass Whisperer” at the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, or call (315) 824-9849 extension 110.

Silvopasture Field Day

Web image: Cows grazing in a wooded pasture

When: Friday, August 24th – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where Black Queen Angus Farm, 630 Green Hollow Road, Berlin (Rensselaer County)

Silvopasturing is an important new agroforestry system for the Northeast that allows for the sustainable production of timber, forages and livestock on the same land. Join us for this one day course to develop the skills and knowledge that will help you to evaluate, plan and implement silvopasture projects in the context of your own farm or land that you manage for others.

Sessions will cover basic principles, but also focus on practical applications of the knowledge so that you can be more confident and efficient as you make management decisions. Instructors are experienced forestry extension educators and technical specialists from Cornell University Cooperative Extension and Paul Smiths College.

Graziers, foresters, agency personnel are especially encouraged to attend. 5.0 Category One Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits pending for Certified Foresters. Participants are encouraged to watch the archived Webinar on Silvopasturing prior to the course.

The cost of the Silvopasture Field Day is $10 per person and includes lunch. To register for the Silvopasture Field Day, please e-mail Susan Lewis at the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District or call (518) 765-7923.

100% Grass Fed Seasonal Raw Milk Dairy

When: Saturday, August 25th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Blue Hill Farm, 398 Blue Hill Road, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

The instructor will be Sean Stanton, who has been farming for ten years and the dairy has been a licensed raw milk dairy for three years. The workshop will cover the basics of raw milk production, seasonal dairy management and intensive rotational grazing, as well as fencing options and water systems for cows and calves. We will view all aspects of milk production from the milking machines to the pastures.

The cost is $30 per person, with a $5 discount for NOFA members or for registering 14 or more days before the workshop. For more details and registration information visit the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts (NOFA/MASS) Web site, or e-mail Ben Grosscup, or call (413) 549-1568.

Sponsored by Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts (NOFA/MASS).

Late Summer Pasture Walk and Grazing Discussion

When: Tuesday, August 28th – 10:00 am
Where: Hagar Hill Beef Farm, 1374 Route 22B, Morrisonville (Clinton County)

We plan to walk the pastures, view the forages and review some pasture initiatives implemented for improving forage growth in a planned rotational grazing system. Discussion on techniques used, soil quality, species composition, weeds, economics, etc.

To register, contact CCE Clinton County at (518) 561-7450 or by e-mail.

Advance Notice

Dairy Sheep Grazing Workshop

When: Friday, September 7th – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Ovinshire Farm, 511 Frog City Road, Fort Plain (Montgomery County)

Ovinshire Farm is a 600 sheep dairy operated by Scott Burrington. Scott grazes his sheep on fields of native grasses and clover. Ovinshire Farm is partnering with Maple Hill Creamery to produce sheep milk yogurt.

Web link image: Maple Hill CreameryDr. Jim Hayes, owner of Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Warnerville, Dr. Cindi Shelley, Professor of Animal Science from State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill and Dr. tatiana Stanton, Extension Associate from Cornell University will be leading the workshop. The workshop will cover breed selection for pasture-based systems, breeding on pasture, lambing on pasture, guardian animals on pasture, performance evaluation, managing your pastures, costs of pasture-based systems and parasite management on pasture.

The cost of the workshop is $10 per person and includes lunch. To register,  please e-mail Susan Lewis at the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District or call (518) 765-7923.

Growing Health 2012

Web link image: Growing Health 2012

When: Tuesday and Wednesday, October 16th and 17th
Where: Riverwalk Hotel and Conference Center, Binghamton (Broome County)

What do farms, food, and health have in common? More than you might think! Back for the fourth time is Growing Health 2012 - Cultivating Common Ground: Farms, Food & Health. There is an important new twist this year: Growing Health 2012 will be a two-day event. On Tuesday, October 16th the event will debut a statewide meeting entitled: the “New York State Healthy Farms, Healthy People Meeting” to consider how agriculture in New York and the Northeast can improve the health of New York residents. The day of learning and discussion will be crowned by the well-known evening tasting event featuring locally grown and produced food and beverages.

On Wednesday, October 17th, there will be a conference for interdisciplinary learning and dialogue. Engage with leaders from multiple sectors to explore the dynamic connections between agriculture, food, and well-being. Growing Health 2012 will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders from many sectors to discuss the vital relationships between healthy soil, healthy farms, locally produced safe foods, healthy families, the environment, and the economy. Attend the debut statewide meeting, the evening local foods tasting, the conference, or all three events for dynamic learning, tasting and discussion.

Call (888) 603-5973 or stay tuned to the Growing Health 2012 Web page for more details. Conference registration will be available online in July.

Pasture News

Web link image: Soil Health Video on YouTubeSoil Health Video

Have you ever wondered what the advantage is to soil health from keeping land in perennial pasture? Here’s a link to a very informative video by Ray Archuleta, who is a Conservation Agronomist with NRCS in Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s well worth a minute of your time to watch it!

Pasture Management Tips

Although rain has started to fall, it is still somewhat dry in many places, so here we offer some more tips on making sure your water system and fences don't fail you in the heat of summer, from infrastructure expert Rob DeClue of the Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District.

  • Livestock Watering

With droughty conditions, moisture content of the pasture forage is likely to drop slightly. Even though the decline is usually small, the portion fresh forage contributes towards the total dietary requirements of animals is so great as to have a large net impact. Couple this with increasing water needs to help reduce heat stress from strong sun and high air temperatures, water intake climbs dramatically. If the flow into troughs is marginal under average conditions, try to make sure the troughs are not overturned and pushed out of the pasture. Some techniques include offering the water closer to where the animals are grazing. By shortening the distance they have to walk to quench their thirst, their behavior will change markedly. Instead of coming to the troughs in bigger groups, they will either make watering visits as individuals or smaller groups. The net effect is to put less demand on the watering system as a whole, improving its ability to keep up with the livestock's needs.

  • Fencing

Energizers tend to have trouble with their "earth return system" which gathers electric pulses from the ground and brings them back to the ground terminal. Dry soil does not conduct electricity well. If other grounding systems at the farmstead become better relative to the fencing system's, the chance for stray voltage to develop in the facilities increases. Adding more ground rods to the earth return system and/or using a slurry of bentonite and salt around the full length of the ground rods can improve performance. Retest the adequacy of the system to ensure enhancements are effective enough.


Web link graphic: Graze New YorkWant to submit an event? Interested in subscribing? Simply send an e-mail to Karen Hoffman with your event information, or with the subject line of "subscribe" to be added to the distribution list. If submitting an event listing, please submit it three days before the end of the month prior to the date scheduled, as this newsletter will only be generated at the beginning of the month. Not interested? You may also "unsubscribe" by sending an e-mail to Karen Hoffman, with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Brought to you by the New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is a grass-roots coalition of producers, agricultural industry, and conservation groups with an interest in the sound conservation of private grazing lands. The goal of this newsletter is to increase awareness of grazing events around New York and in neighboring states, as well as to provide information that is useful on the farm. For more information on GLCI, check out the national GLCI Web site. Information on the NYS GLCI can be obtained from GLCI Coordinator Karen Hoffman.

For information on facilities or services, or to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids at meetings, please contact the individual listed for the event at least ten days prior to the meeting date.

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