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Grazette Newsletter - July 2012

Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Newsletter

July brings about some old farming quotes – “knee high by the 4th of July” and “made some patriotic hay” – both in reference to the Independence Day holiday. They both also reflect the timing of activities on the farm – if your corn was planted on time, that’s how tall it should be by early July. On the flip side, if you’re still doing first cutting on July 4th, perhaps your timing needs to be better. Are there any grazing related quotes that use July 4th as a benchmark? Let us know if you are aware of them – the first person who does will win a prize from GLCI!

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

Farm Diversity with Heritage Poultry: The Joys and Challenges

When:  Monday, July 9th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Roo Haven Farm, 883 Hurlbert Road, Forestville (Chautauqua County)

Web link image: Roo Haven FarmHave you considered adding heritage poultry to your farm operation? Join Margaret Bruegel and Gary Pfahl at Roo Haven Farm to learn about raising heritage chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese in a small pastured poultry environment. The discussion will include breed conservation, predator prevention, marketing options for a small poultry operation, pasture rotations with small acreage, and more. Roo Haven Farm is a small, certified organic, pasture-raised poultry farm specializing in premium poultry products, including heritage layer hens, Freedom Ranger meat chickens, Narraganset turkeys, Rouen ducks, and Emden geese. Their birds live in moveable range houses and forage on 10-acres of pasture grasses, clover, and plants high in Omega-3s and other healthy nutrients. Their naturally chosen diet of greens, bugs, fruits, and berries from our old orchard is supplemented with certified organic feed from grains grown on New York farms!

FREE for members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) / $15 All Others (includes lunch). Supported by the New York State Department of Ag & Markets, USDA Risk Management Agency, and the New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

Jefferson/Lewis County Grazing Discussion Day

Web image: Cows grazing on a foggy morningWhen: Wednesday, July 11th – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Two farm locations

Part 1: Pasture Fly Integrated Pest Management (IPM): What’s the Buzz?

When: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Clinton Horst Farm, Fone Road, Mannsville

Learn the options available for controlling fly pests affecting animals on pasture including the role of dung beetles, use of effective biting fly catching traps suitable for use on pasture, and what you should know about making insecticide use decisions. (Two New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Pesticide Credits) - Presenter: Ken Wise, NYS IPM.

Part 2: Reclaiming Abandoned Land for Pasture

When: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: Maple Valley Farms, Doug Morse & Family, 4422 Dixon Road, Mannsville
 (meet at parking for Winona County Forest-Dixon Road)

Discussion on techniques used, soil quality, species composition, economics, etc. - Plus at the farm see a bedded pack barn for dairy herd, composting, cross-breeding for grazing dairy cows. Lunch on your own, snacks and water provided. Pre-registration and questions contact: Joe Lawrence - Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Lewis County at 376-5270 and Ron Kuck - CCE Jefferson County at 788-8450.

Sustainable Dairy Farm Management

When: July 17th through 19th
Where: Times and locations to be determined

Join Paul and Jason Tillotson of Cottonwood Farms, LLC to learn more about how they transitioned to organic production and are now incorporating technology across their farmstead to develop a sustainable farm system. Tour the farm to see tire water tanks, robotic calf feeders, a manure separator, and irrigation, as well as their forced-air compost production system. Attendees will learn about how robotic calf feeders can lower costs and increase growth and how the Tillotsons compost manure and use it in a more efficient manner. Paul and Jason will also discuss how to implement grass measuring and budgeting for efficient use of grasses and how to increase production by utilizing Brix readings and implementing high stocking rates. Cottonwood Farms began intensively grazing their cows in 2000 and became certified organic in 2007. They are currently milking 350 cows on 850 acres. Paul and Jason Tillotson are the 4th and 5th generations on the farm and their goal is to create a sustainable system for the land, cattle and family. FREE for NOFA-NY Members / $15 All Others. Supported by the New York State Department of Ag & Markets, USDA Risk Management Agency, and the New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

The Great Vermont Weeds Tour with Kathy Voth

When: July 17th through 19th
Where: Times and locations to be determined

Hundreds of Northeastern livestock farmers met Kathy through her visits to Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire in the last year, becoming excited and hopeful about teaching their own livestock to become weed managers through her simple, quick process. Live presentations and weed eating demonstrations, at multiple Vermont locations. Email Jenn Colby or call 802-656-0858 or visit The University of Vermont Web site for more information as it becomes available.

Grass-Based Dairy Webinar

When: Thursday, July 19th – 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm

Managed grazing can be a highly profitable business – with low inputs, and high margins, even adding more value to your land as your soil gets deeper. After an overview of the farming techniques, hear a case study of a very successful business, and learn about a new apprenticeship program, and how it works. With panelists Laura Paine, Grazing and Organic Agriculture Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and Joe Tomandl, Dairy Farmer and Grass Works Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program Director. Visit the Gotomeeting Web site to register.

Renovating Soils and Swards of Dairy Pastures

When: Tuesday, July 24th – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Jerry Dell Farm, 2219 Gee Hill Road, Dryden (Cortland County)Web link image: New York Organic Dairy Initiative

Guest speakers include: Arden Landis, PA Grazier, Dr, Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire Organic Dairy Professor, and Fay Benson, Cornell Extension, New York Organic Dairy Initiative. The focus will be on using summer annuals to renovate pasture forage and soil. Attendees will be able to view two of Jerry Dell’s pastures that Fay has planted with a selection of summer annuals. The goal of the renovation was to address the high amounts of Phosphorous and Potassium in the soil which was believed to be causing refusal by the cows. Fay will talk about the measurement of pasture intake prior to the renovation and the costs associated with the renovation. Arden will outline his experience with different renovation methods including the use of Air-Way units and other methods for preparing the pastures for seeding. He will also talk about what decision process in choosing plants for the next grazing sward. Dr. Brito will talk about work that UNH and a partnership of other northeast Universities are working towards the production of increased Omega 3 milk by organic dairies.

Jeremy Sherman will talk about Jerry Dell’s experience with direct marketing cheese and raw milk from their dairy. Lunch will be provided. RSVP requested to help plan lunch – Email Sharon VanDeuson or call 607-753-5078. This event is sponsored by the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) Project “Assisting Organic Dairy Producers to Meet the Demands of New and Emerging Milk Markets” and the New York Organic Dairy Initiative.

Adding Income Streams to a Small Dairy Web image: Fresh forage and cash

When: Thursday, July 26th – call for time
Where: DelRose Farm. 9635 County Highway 18, Bloomville (Delaware County)

Ernest and Barbara Hanselman will present Adding Income Streams to a Small Dairy. The Hanselmans milk 75 Registered Holsteins and Brown Swiss in the fertile valley of the Delaware River. They have been in the dairy business for over 30 years and have gradually added enterprises that diversify the farm into various income streams. They will discuss making the best use of on-farm resources and trends to create a diversity of income streams that add to farm income and farm viability. To register, email Mariane Kiraly, or call 607-865-6531.

Managing the Biology of a Grazing System

When: Wednesday, July 31st – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Marvin Moyer Farm, Lainhart Road, Owego (Tioga County)

Jerry Brunetti will give attendees a view of what is going on beneath the sod of a grazing farm and how to maximize the biologic potential for cycling nutrients which feed the plants. This event is being organized by the “Tioga Grazers”, a grazing discussion group that has been meeting for the past 10 years. There will also be information on how a grazing farm can use Risk Management “Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Policy” to protect their feed supply from drought. RSVP requested to help plan lunch – Email Sharon VanDeuson or call 607-753-5078. Sponsored by NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Risk Management Education and the New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Grazing Workshop

When: Tuesday, July 31st – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Gaige Farms, 443 Knox Gallupville Road, Knox (Schoharie County)

Troy Bishopp, Grazing Specialist for the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, will be leading the workshop session along with Karen Hoffman who serves as Resource Conservationist - Animal Science for the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service. The workshop will cover planning grazing, monitoring pasture quality, stockpiling, estimating dry matter and feeding to optimize milk production and reduce grain costs. The cost of the workshop is $10 per person and includes lunch. To register for the workshop, please email Susan Lewis from the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District or call 518-765-7923. The workshop is being sponsored by the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts with funding from the New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

Advance Notice

Fencing Types and Techniques for a Diverse Farm Web image: Cows grazing on a foggy morning

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

Tour 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 NOFA-NY Members / $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 Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.Web link image: Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York

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. Contact Email Sharon VanDeuson or call 607-753-5078. Sponsoring this event is NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Risk Management Education and 5th National Conference on Grazing Lands.

 Fifth National Conference on Grazing Lands

Web lionk image: Grazing Lands Conservation InitiativeWhen: December 9th to 12th
Where: Orlando, Florida

The conference objective is “To Heighten Awareness of the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Grazing Lands”. The target audience includes producers, academics, consumers, government agency officials, conservationists, environmentalists, urban based resource interests, grazing land managers, landowners, and others interested in effective natural resources management. Call for papers: The conference sponsors are accepting abstracts for both oral and poster papers until May 1st in the following categories: issues concerning the agricultural-urban interface; successful “cutting edge” management technologies for grazing practices; public policy implications of grazing; and optimization of grazing land health for environmental and social benefits. More information is available at the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Web site.

Pasture News

GLCI Writing Contest

The Steering Committee of the New York State Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is once again sponsoring a writing contest for students, farmers, and others. The purpose of the contest is to promote managed grazing. Up to four individuals will be eligible to win $250 each for their submissions. Authors will be judged in one of the following age categories – 15 to 20, 21 to 25, and 25 and older.

Articles should be about a farm that is utilizing managed grazing and focus on at least one of the following four benefits:

  1. animal health and well-being
  2. environmental quality
  3. economic improvement
  4. farm family quality of life

Also authors should explain how the farms have utilized technical assistance available from either a GLCI grazing specialist, or their local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), county Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) office, or some other source.

For more information, email GLCI Coordinator Karen Hoffman or call 607-33404632 ext 116.

Entries are due by August 1st and contest results will be announced by September 15th.

Pasture Management Tips

As a follow up to last month’s “Pasture Management Tips” regarding potential pump damage by low water levels and fouling of certain full flow float valves, here is some additional information and suggestions.

To protect water pumps driven by electric motors, sophisticated electronic devices are now available to prevent damage to the pump and motor in the event of dry run conditions (i.e., air infiltration) in addition to other problems like over current caused by a “locked rotor”, flow restrictions (i.e., dead head), over & under voltage, and rapid cycling. It is inserted into the electric cable feeding power to the pump. When any of those problems are encountered, the device automatically shuts down the pump until the operator manually resets it. Some of these devices provide information to help diagnose the causes which lead to shut down. Such devices cost about $200 plus installation. Examples include PumpSaver (Goulds/SymCom), PumpTec/PumpTec Plus (Franklin Electric), & Pump Protector (Coyote Mfg).

If particulates and other debris in the water source constantly cause the ‘diaphragm’ style full float valve on your water trough to become inoperative, consider switching over to a ‘plug’ style valve. These other valves are much less prone to failure under such conditions. In addition, they normally have fewer parts, are easier to service if a problem is encountered, and are available in the same pipe sizes, if not larger. Some manufacturers of these valves utilize rigid connecting rods between the body of the valve and the float, making them susceptible to potential damage by livestock if they have direct access to them. Others intended specifically for agricultural applications rely on a flexible cord and livestock resistant float.

Written by Rob DeClue, Chenango County SWCD and NYSGLCI Specialist


Web link image: 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.

Past Newsletters

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