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New York Grazing Coalition Grazette - July 2014

New York Grazing Coalition Grazette  - July 2014








Ten Top Reasons You Should Attend Grasstravaganza

10) You’ve never been to a summer grazing conference before
9) You’ll get to see old friends and meet new people
8) The food will be locally grown and delicious
7) The Morrisville State College campus is beautiful in July
6) The cost to attend is pretty darn affordable (and the early bird registration discount ends today!)
5) You finished first cutting of hay and second isn’t ready yet
4) You have a grazing chart and planned to be away for a couple of days
3) You want to learn cool stuff about microbes and nematodes
2) If you don’t go, you’ll have to hear about it from the neighbors and end up feeling foolish

DRUMROLL...and the number one reason...

1) Ray Archuleta, Jerry Brunetti, and Jim Gerrish together for the first time ever!

Register today!

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

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 10 days prior to the meeting date.

Upcoming Pasture Workshops and Related Events

Controlling Flies to Keep Your Organic Cows Happy and Healthy

When: Tuesday, July 1st – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Twin Oaks Dairy LLC, 3175 NYS Route 13, Truxton (Cortland County)

Join Kathie Arnold at Twin Oaks Dairy to see the Spalding CowVac first hand in an organic dairy system. Hear what additional methods the Arnolds use in order to strive for optimum comfort and production for their herd. Tour the Arnold's farm and see how this exemplary dairy manages their farm. Learn how to develop a fly control program from Keith Waldron, a Cornell University Senior Extension Associate who serves as the Livestock and Field Crop IPM Coordinator with the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

Registration: $10/person, or $15 for two or more from the same farm. Lunch is provided. Register with Stephanie by June 27 at 585-271-1979 extension 509 or online. This field day is sponsored by Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) through the USDA Risk Management Agency, Outreach and Assistance Program. Special thanks to Spalding Fly Predators for co-sponsoring this event and providing lunch.

Grasstravaganza 2014: Pasture Soil Health Creates Wealth

When: Thursday to Saturday, July 17th to 19th

Grasstravaganza 2014

Where: Morrisville State College, Morrisville

Speakers include Ray Archuleta, the NRCS “soil guy” from North Carolina, Jerry Brunetti of Agri-Dynamics, and Jim Gerrish, former University of Missouri researcher, writer, and now cattle rancher and consultant from Idaho. A Thursday evening dinner will kick-off the conference, and tours will be held on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. Sponsored by USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, New York Grazing Coalition, and Morrisville State College. Visit the Grasstravaganza website for updates on the conference agenda and registration.

Organic Dairy High Quality Forage Production

When: Monday, July 21st – 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Stine Farm, 45540 Stine Road, Redwood (Jefferson County)Web graphic: Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New York

Bill Stine of Stine Farm welcomes you to tour his farm and learn about his forage production system. Hear how he maintains production with a baleage and hay based ration. See his pasture system and learn what practices Bill has implemented to be a successful organic dairy farmer. Stine Farm is a 5th generation farm established in 1874. Bill currently milks 35 cows and has been certified organic since 2007. Registration: $10/person, or $15 for 2 or more from the same farm. Register with Stephanie by 7/18 at 585-271-1979 ext. 509 or online. This field day is sponsored by NOFA-NY through the USDA Risk Management Agency, Outreach and Assistance Program and supported by Horizon Organic.

Pasture Management for Water Quality

When: Thursday, July 24th – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: The Clark Farm, Lowman (Chemung County)

Peggy Clarke has been rotationally grazing her dairy cows at her Bicentennial farm for over 30 years. Bob Schindelbeck, Extension Associate in the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Cornell, will walk us through the ways that support pasture management and soil health. Please RSVP by emailing Sharon VanDeuson, Cornell Cooperative Extension, or call 607-753-5078.

Beef: It’s Meant for Grazing

When: Friday, July 25th – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: The Ortensi Farm and Equine Center, 765 Chyle Road, Richfield Springs (Otsego County)

Bernie and Greg Ortensi of The Ortensi Farm and Equestrian Center LLC will host a field day focused on their beef grazing operation. Join them to learn how they graze, cover crop and grow small grains for their herd. Karen Hoffman, Nutrition and Animal Scientist and Dave Roberts Grazing Specialists for USDA-NRCS will talk about ration balancing, pasture layout and how to manage pasture species for optimum forage quality. Robert Perry, NOFA-NY field crop educator, will share his insight growing small grain and cover cropping systems.

Registration: $10 per person, or $15 for two or more from the same farm. Register with Stephanie by July 22 at 585-271-1979 extension 509. This field day is sponsored by the USDA Risk Management Agency, Outreach and Assistance Program and Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) Grant.

K-Line Pasture Irrigation

When: Wednesday, July 30th – 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Horning Farm, 1700 Stiles Road, Penn Yan (Yates County)

Join Alvin Horning Jr. of Horning Farm to learn how he manages his pasture for optimum production from his herd. See his K-Line irrigation system, learn how he rotates his pastures for simplicity in irrigation. Hear how Alvin is using irrigation to maximize pasture production, mitigate the risk in extreme weather patterns and maintain high quality forage. Alvin Horning Jr. became certified organic in 2009 and milks 40 cows on his farm.

Registration: This event is free. This field day is sponsored by NOFA-NY through the USDA Risk Management Agency, Outreach and Assistance Program and supported by Organic Valley.

Advance Notice

2014 NOFA Summer ConferenceNortheast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference 2014

When: Friday, August 8th to Sunday, August 10th
Where: Amherst, Massachusetts

The 40th NOFA Summer Conference is less than two months away! With 150+ workshops, live entertainment, dinner meet-ups, conferences for children and teens, farm tours, and much more we hope you can join us for this fun and engaging weekend. Our full schedule is online including workshops by time slot, category, and track. Scholarships are available through the Farming Education Fund and Beginning Farmer Program (those farming fewer than 10 years). Work exchange is also available.

Our early bird deadline is fast approaching. Register by July 11 and save up to 25% off your conference registration.

Friday features four different pre-conferences on soils, herbs, urban ecology, and autoimmunity; evening films and live entertainment; as well as childcare. Saturday and Sunday feature 150+ workshops, films, entertainment, 100+ vendors and much more. Our Saturday night keynote speaker is Elaine Ingham. Single day and full weekend registration is available as are meals and a variety of accommodations.

Pasture News

New York Farm Viability Institiute (NYFVI) grants to start Dairy Profit Teams

Please note grants are accepted on an on-going basis!New York Farm Viability Institute

The New York Farm Viability Institute is offering $2,500 grants to New York dairy producers to help them start Dairy Profit Teams. A Profit Team is a group of professionals, selected by the farmer, who meet regularly to discuss that specific farm, with the goal of making the business more successful. Farmers who agree to hold at least seven Profit Team meetings during the 15-month grant period can be reimbursed for 80% of team fees (eg. consulting, mileage), up to $2,500. Dairy producers who have already started Profit Teams for their farms observe that when they hold regular meetings with their chosen consultants, ideas get examined from multiple perspectives at one time, questions get answered on the spot, and whole-farm data is monitored proactively so that concerns are identified early, before they become problems. The overall effect is better planning for the future, both short and long term.

Producer Jake Conway explains, “The team has opened our eyes to opportunities we don’t see because we are so close to the farm every day.” Bruce Dehm, of Dehm Associates, adds, “Properly run advisory teams are the single best investment a farmer can make to improve profitability.”

To apply for a grant, download an application from the Profit Teams page of the New York Farm Viability Institiute website and send it to NYFVI (mail, email, or fax). Information about selecting team members and a team facilitator, setting team goals, and evaluation tools is also available on the New York Farm Viability Institute website. Questions or requests for additional information can be directed to the NYFVI Profit Team Coordinator at 315-453-3823.

Meat SuiteJoin the Meat Suite, for free, today!

Livestock farmers in Broome, Chemung, Cortland, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties, New York are invited to join The Meat Suite is the Finger Lakes Meat Project's online directory of regional livestock farmers selling meat in bulk. Meat Suite connects consumers shopping for locally-raised meat with farms. The site currently hosts over forty farms, many of which have already made sales through the site. Joining Meat Suite allows consumers seeking meat in bulk quantities to find you. When they call you, they already know a bit about your farm, your products, and your prices, so there is a greater chance of them going through with a purchase. Your farm profile is your place to articulate what makes your product great.

Creating your Meat Suite profile is simple and, for a limited time, your first year is free!  If you need help navigating the web, please call to set up an appointment and they will help you. Please feel free to contact them with any questions or concerns. They are excited to host you!

Pasture Management Tips

Do you have a pasture stick? Do you know how to use it, and do you use it? As the days become warmer, the weather becomes drier, and grass growth rates slow down, it’s important to measure your grass yields to ensure you are not shorting your livestock on the dry matter they need to eat.

In case you’re not sure how to use the one you have, here is a brief “owner’s manual” excerpt:


  • For best results, make sure the pasture being evaluated is between 6 and 12 inches tall.
  • Walk through the pasture following an “S” or “Z” shaped route.
  • Take a minimum of 10 measurements per acre of pasture. (Multiples of 10 make the math easier).
  • Keep in mind, the more measurements you take, the more accurate the estimate.

Measuring Sward Surface Height

At each sample point, place the stick in the forage perpendicular to soil surface. Place your hand, palm side down alongside the stick parallel with the soil surface and slide your hand down the shaft until contact with the forage canopy is made. Record this height to the nearest whole inch. Next subtract 3-inches from this number. Subtracting 2-inches accounts for the residual stubble we want to leave behind, and subtracting 1 additional inch accounts for the inherent variability in the sward surface height.

The initial height of the forage canopy minus 3-inches = inches of forage available for grazing.

In situations where sward surface heights are very uneven (generally when canopy heights are greater than 10 inches) or where increased post-grazing residual forage heights are desired or required to maintain plant health and vigor, livestock production goals, or other management objectives, accuracy of the estimate can be improved by subtracting and additional one or two inches.

Evaluating Sward Density

At each sample point, place the stick flat on the ground with the dot grid side facing up, and slide it along the soil surface beneath the forage mass. With the stick flat on the ground and the herbage covering the stick, look directly down on the grid. Next, without moving your head or shifting your body into various positions or angles, look straight down at the grid and count the number of dots visible.

Estimating Forage Availability

Once the average number of inches of available forage has been estimated along with its density (number of dots counted) go to the top of the stick and locate the forage type that most closely reflects the pasture species composition.

Next, select the column that represents the number of dots counted, and look up the corresponding pounds of dry matter/acre/inch value for the pasture type.

Multiply the pounds of dry matter/acre/inch of forage height by the number of inches of forage available. The resultant value is a density corrected estimate of the amount of forage available in the pasture.

Pounds of dry matter/acre/inch X number of inches of available forage height = pounds/acre of forage available for grazing.

The pasture stick is not a precision instrument. However, when used in accordance with the guidelines suggested, more often than not, it will yield information that can be considered more generally correct rather than precisely wrong.


Want 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? If we've sent this to you, and you're not interested in receiving it again, also send an e-mail to the above address with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Brought to you by the New York Grazing Coalition (NYGC). The New York Grazing Coalition is a grass-roots coalition of producers, agricultural industry, and conservation groups with an interest in the sound conservation of private grazing lands, with funding from USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New York. 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.

More information is available on the National Grazing Lands Coalition web site. Information on the NYGC can be obtained from Coordinator Karen Hoffman at the e-mail address above.