New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference – December 12-14, 2017

November 28th, 2017 11:49 AM
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New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show
Tuesday through Thursday, December 12-14, 2017
Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire

The New England Vegetable and Fruit (NEVF) Conference will include more than 30 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special grower topics. Farmer-to-Farmer meetings throughout the conference will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion on specific issues. There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 120 exhibitors.

The conference is put together with close collaboration between growers and Cooperative Extension from across the region. This is a great opportunity to meet with fellow growers, advisors, researchers, and industry representatives.

For more information and to register, please visit the NEVF Conference website, newenglandvfc.org.

Cows and Crops – October 2017

September 25th, 2017 1:39 PM
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In this issue:


Upcoming Events

 

ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist hosts “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
September 26, 2017 at 1 pm

On September 26, Larry will discuss organic and organic “grassfed” dairy systems. Webinars will also include videos from producers in each of these systems. These webinars are sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and North Central Risk Management Education Center.

If you’d like to join the webinar, log onto the ISU Dairy Webinars as a guest at 1:00 EST on September 26th.

Also, ISU has an excellent collection of free dairy budgets across all systems, production levels, etc. as well as a blank budget template and explanatory materials on their website.

 

 

 

The New England Dairy Summit and Holstein Convention
October 27-28, 2017

This exciting event is open to anyone involved in the dairy industry.  The program truly offers something for everyone, including:

  • IDEXX facility tour: Tour IDEXX company headquarters to learn more about their animal diagnostic tools and research
  • Farm Tours: Visit four Maine dairy herds to view their cattle and learn more about their herd management- Juniper Farms, Pineland, Brigeen, Conant Acres
  • Maine Product Showcase: Enjoy samples of Maine specialty food and beverage products, including cheese, maple, potatoes, blueberries, cider, wine and craft beer
  • Dairy Girl Network Connect Event: Women in agriculture are invited to attend a networking event hosted by the Dairy Girl Network. This is the first event they have hosted in New England.
  • Interesting featured speakers and presentations by:
    • Mr. Walter Whitcomb- Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
    • Dr. David Kirk, Leader of Technical Services for North American, Phibro Animal Health Corporation
    • Stan Erwine, Vice-President of Farmer Relations at Dairy Management Inc.
    • Robotic Milking Panel- hear from New England dairy producers that have transitioned to robotic milking systems during this panel discussion
  • Traditional Maine Lobster Bake
  • Youth activities, which include a pizza party at a trampoline park, dairy knowledge and public speaking competitions and a folding display contest.

Visit New England States Holstein Association’s website for the brochure, registration materials and further information.

 


 

2017 Census of Agriculture – We Need Your Help!

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service is preparing to conduct the 2017 Census of Agriculture and is asking for your help to promote it. Questionnaires will be mailed in late December. This information is critical to Maine agriculture.  The results of the Ag. census have been used to influence policy decisions and resource allocations.  We highly encourage Maine farmers to complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture.


 

The Maine Tier program needs you!

Many of you have received several notices about the need for Maine Dairy Cost of Production Study data for 2016. This study needs to be done every three years to maintain the Maine Tier program.

The process for the data collection is not very difficult. While sharing your data with us in a confidential manner is probably not your idea of a good time, I think most of you would agree that collecting the tier payments has been beneficial to your farm business.

So before you throw out the next notice or send back a reply that you don’t want to participate, realize that the tier program mandates that the information be collected from a significant number of farms. If we cannot get enough participants, it does not reflect well on the Tier program going forward.

For some of you, participation in the study will also be helpful in managing your farm business going forward.  If you have declined to participate and now want to join, please contact Gary Anderson at garya@maine.edu


 

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2018 Coverage

Secretary Allows Producers to Opt Out

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that starting Sept. 1, 2017, dairy producers, can enroll  for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.

To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice.  The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive.

The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.

MPP-Dairy gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf.

USDA has a Margin Protection Program web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, visit FSA online or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy.


 

Maine Farms for the Future Request for proposals

Looking for a way to change your dairy farm and improve your business management?
Maine Farms for the Future may be for you!

A copy of the Request For Proposal document for Maine Farms for the Future Program can be downloaded. Also, view Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, at Maine’s Request for Proposals website.

 

PUBLIC NOTICE – STATE OF MAINE
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
RFP# 201709156

Maine Farms for the Future Program, Round 17: Phase 1 – Business Plan Development (2017-2019) with potential Phase 2 – Investment Support in 2019

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, is required to offer grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B).

A Bidders Conference will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. at Conference Room # 118 located in the Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Ln in Augusta with a public entrance at Door D7.

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall St – 4th Floor in Augusta.  Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 pm, local time, on Tuesday, October 17, when they will be opened.  Proposals not received at the Division of Purchases’ aforementioned address by the aforementioned deadline will not be considered for contract award.


 

Weather Resources You May Find Interesting

Rick Kersbergen

After posting about the lack of Growing Degree Days (GDD) a few days ago, we have experienced some much-needed warm weather. Many of you have asked where to get GDD data for your area.  I access the Climate Smart Farming website to get very localized data

For example, here is the chart for central Maine as of 9-20-17

Degree Days

Some other weather resources you may be interested in learning about are available through the Gulf of Maine Gulf of Maine Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook website. If you are interested, read the most recent issue of Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook for the Gulf of Maine Region.


 

2017 Maine Eastern States Dairy Team Results

On September 14-17, 2017, sixteen 4-H youth and their project animals traveled to West Springfield, MA to represent Maine at the Eastern States Exposition. They competed against more than 150 youth from all over New England in a variety of dairy competitions.

In the first competition, the Dairy Knowledge Exam, Gabbie Guillette took third place and Keltan Tanguay was sixth in the Senior Division (Ages 15-18). While Susannah Huettner took second place in the Junior Division (Ages 12-15).

The Maine Quiz Bowl Team consisting of Alyvia Caruso, Gabbie Guillemette, Calli-Ann Leach and Keltan Tanguay took third place overall. Keltan Tanguay finished third, Gabbie Guillemete finished sixth and Calli-Ann Leach finished tenth in the individual scoring. The quiz bowl team was coached by Connie Wood.

The Maine Clipping Team consisting of Alexia Dumont, Mackensie Schofield and Keltan Tanguay finished second.

In the Dairy Judging, the Maine Team of Alyvia Caruso, Emma Hawkes, Calli-Ann Leach and Jaymee Rankin, took second place in Guernseys, third in Jerseys and third in Milking Shorthorns, with a third place overall. In the individual competition, Calli-Ann Leach finished third in Ayrshires, second in the Shorthorns and sixth overall, while Jaymee Rankin placed second in Guernseys and seventh overall. The team was coached by Jessyca Rankin.

In the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Competition, the team of Alyvia Caruso, Lydia Schofield and Ruben Schofield finished first in the Traditional Category with their Monterey Jack with Pesto sandwich and finished third in the Non-Traditional Category with their wild blueberry and sharp cheddar on sour dough sandwich. The team’s traditional sandwich was also best sandwich of the competition. The team was coached by Ann Caruso.

Maine Grilled Cheese Team of Lydia Schofield, Alyvia Caruso and Ruben Schofield

Maine Grilled Cheese Team of Lydia Schofield, Alyvia Caruso and Ruben Schofield

 

Results of the Cattle Quality Classes were as follows. In the Ayrshire breed, class winners included Abigail Clock with her Fall Calf, M-R Primes Viv, Megan Caruso with her Winter Yearling, Family-AF-AYR Lucky Martha, Susannah Huettner with her Fall Yearling, Glen-Farm Valorous Most and Keltan Tanguay with his four year-old cow, Blue-Spruce Medalist Brooke, Megan’s yearling was named Reserve Junior Champion and Keltan’s cow was named Reserve Senior Champion of the breed.

In the Guernseys, Kiley Clock and her Summer Yearling, Pinedust Colton Forest finished first and was named Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

In the Holsteins, Reeve Twitchell and his Fall Calf, Brigeen Brash Paddy finished first and was named Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

In the Jerseys, class winners included, Mackensie Schofield’s Winter Calf, Happy Acres FP Mistletoe and Calli-Ann Leach’s Winter Yearling, Tierneys Venom Portia.

In the State Herd Competition, the Maine cattle were first in Ayrshires, second in Guernseys and third in Jerseys.

In the Fitting and Showmanship competition, Alyvia Caruso placed first in her age group and was named Reserve Champion in the Junior Division.

The dairy team would like to thank Stephanie Smith, the chair of the dairy 4-H committee for her leadership, and all of the volunteers, coaches, chaperones, contributors and parents who gave freely of their time and resources to make this year successful. 4-H is an educational youth program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

 

Cows and Crops May 2017

May 22nd, 2017 10:48 AM
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Cows and Crops — May 2017

In this issue:


Upcoming Events

Cowabunga 5K – June 25, 2017

On Sunday, June 25th, 2017, the MDACF will be partnering with the Maine Dairy Promotion Board to host the inaugural Cowabunga 5K and Family Dairy Day in Portland, ME.  The event will feature a 5K run/walk, local farmers, live calves, educational demonstrations, local and state dairy businesses and organizations, and dairy products for attendees.  Proceeds will be donated to the Howard C. Reiche Community School’s food pantry, which operates through the summer, as part of the Milk2MyPlate program. If you have any questions about the event, contact Jami Badershall at the Maine Dairy Promotion Board, jami@drinkmainemilk.org.

Cowabunga

For Producers Considering No-Till corn production this year:

Here is a link to a fact sheet that I helped produce with some co-workers in Massachusetts that sets the stage for transitioning your corn crop into a no-till system.

Many farmers in Maine have transitioned to no-till corn and using cover crops to develop and improve their crop rotations, forage quality and profitability. The system also helps improve soil conditions for a dynamic and sustainable system of forage production.

https://ag.umass.edu/crops-dairy-livestock-equine/fact-sheets/making-transition-to-no-till-corncover-crop-system

If you want to try no-till this year, please let me know and I can help guide you through the transition.

Rick (207-342-59871) richard.kersbergen@maine.edu

 

UMaine Students Compete in North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

Four students from the University of Maine competed in the 16th Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge® (NAIDC) held March 30 – April 1, 2017.  Visalia, CA was home base for the event which included 230 students from 37 colleges across the U.S. and Canada.

Dairy Challenge is a unique, real-world experience where students work as a team and apply their college coursework to evaluate and provide solutions for an operating dairy farm. Seven California dairies participated in this event. For the UMaine students, this was their first opportunity to set foot on a large western dairy farm milking approximately 6,000 cows. The sheer size of the operation provided an extra challenge for the Maine students.

Teams were evaluated on the quality and accuracy of their presentations, the identification of management opportunities and their recommendations to improve animal care and management. Team presentations were evaluated by a panel of five judges, including dairy producers, veterinarians, finance specialists and other agribusiness personnel. In addition to the competition, the students also had the opportunity to hear about the latest research and talk about career opportunities with industry professionals.

The University of Maine team of seniors from the School of Food and Agriculture consisted of Alexa Grissinger, Kambrea Atkinson, Dominic Barra and Dakota Stewart. Dr. David Marcinkowski coached the team. Alexa and Dominic will be attending veterinary school in the Fall while Kambrea and Dakota will pursue careers in agribusiness.

 Team Lowr Res

2017 University of Maine Dairy Challenge Team

(L to R) Alexa Grissinger, Dominic Barra, Kambrea Atkinson, Dakota Stewart.

 

Reproduction Notes from California
By David Marcinkowski

As you can see from the article above, I had the opportunity to visit the dairy capital of the US, Tulare County, CA with the University of Maine Dairy Challenge Team. Tulare County leads the nation in milk production and is home to 285 dairy farms and more than 500,000 dairy cows. The recent drought in California, combine with low milk prices, has caused a lot of stress on these farms. However, when we were there, the surge in spring rains had turned everything green, filled reservoirs, and created a positive attitude among the dairy producers. While there had the opportunity to visit a couple large dairy farms and talked to a number of producers, veterinarians and agribusiness consultants about some of the management practices being employed on local farms.

Improving Reproduction Efficiency

Estrus detection on dairies is always a problem whether we’re talking about California or Maine. Add 100 degree temperatures in the summer time and getting cows bred in CA can be very difficult. Just like here, many CA farms have resorted to whole herd synchronization programs such as Target Breeding or Presynch.   However it seems that many of the CA dairies are now using the Double Ovsynch protocol (DO). The DO protocol is shown below, and involves four injections of GnRH and two of prostaglandins.

Research has shown that DO can yield conception rates 5-10% higher than Presynch. This increase is especially true in first lactation animals. Just remember to consult with your veterinarian before starting or modifying any synchronization protocol.

Double Ovsynch

California dairies experience a significant slump in conception rates due to the summer heat. One option producers are using to counteract this slump is breeding their herds with fresh, chilled, semen. One local bull stud is providing farms with fresh semen that is collected and distributed the same day. The fresh semen, when stored properly, will remain viable for 1-2 days. Frozen semen is convenient, but the freezing/thawing process kills a significant percentage of the cells. The company selling this product is claiming an 8-10% increase in conception rate with this product, however this claim has yet to be confirmed.

We also noticed that several CA dairies are using In vitro fertilization or IVF to generate embryos. It has been known for some time that pregnancy rates resulting from embryo transfers are much less susceptible to the summer heat than pregnancy rates from standard AI.  These farmers are having eggs collected from their best cows and heifers, having them fertilized with sexed semen in a petri dish and then frozen for later implantation. The embryos generated from IVF are then implanted into cows in the hot summer months.  This results in significantly higher pregnancy rates and more constant calving rates throughout the year. By using the best cows, genetic improvement is also accelerated.

The average herd size in Tulare county is 1920 cows. As a result, the herdspeople on these dairies are quite experienced and handle many of the health issues themselves. The role of the veterinarian on these farms has changed significantly. The veterinarians act more as health consultants responsible for developing SOP’s, training farm staff and monitoring herd performance. They only see the tough cases that farm staff can’t handle. Routine procedures like pregnancy diagnoses are done by farm staff or alternate methods. A number of the farms were pregnancy testing cows using milk and/or blood. These tests help producers to identify open cows as early as 28 days and help reduce time to reinsemination.

Maximizing Genetics

While we were at the Dairy Challenge we had the opportunity to listen to several excellent presentations. One presentation by Simon Vander Woude, a dairy producer from Merced, was particularly interesting. Simon talked about his use of genomic testing to maximize genetic improvement. Genomics enables a producer to accurately identify the genetic potential of an animal. However simply knowing which animals are good or bad is not enough. Using that genomic information in a management system to get more offspring from the top animals is key to maximizing genetic improvement.

Van Woude Dairy genomically tests all heifer calves. The very elite heifers and cows are identified as IVF candidates and used to produce embryos when they grow large enough. These elite embryos are transferred into the heifers and cows with below average genetics. Animals with above average genetics are bred using sexed to produce heifer calves with above average genetics. The bottom portion of the herd genetically is bred to beef semen producing crossbred beef calves that bring a bonus as feeder calves.

More information on the Van Wouda Dairy breeding program can be found in a short YouTube video which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMo1VOgrA58

 

Northeastern Region Annual Milk Production Report
By Bob Parsons, UVM

Highlights: Milk up 1.8% in March, with cow numbers up by 57,000 from last year. All major states up in milk except California and Idaho, Texas and New Mexico booming as compared to last year, Vermont up 0.9%, Class III milk prices at $15-$16 level for next 9 months. Crop prices down a bit, MPP Margins for rest of year above insurable levels of $8 but up just a bit from last month. See MPP Expectations in Table at end of Email).  

March Report:
Milk production in March was up 1.8% following a 2.3% increase in February.  Production per cow was up 18 lbs per cow per month from last year. Cow numbers in the US in March was 9.57 million, up 57,000 from last year.

Production across the US:

West:
California was down 2.9%
Idaho was down 1.0%
New Mexico was up 9.0%
Texas was up 16.4%

Upper Mid-West and Northeast:
Minnesota was up 1.9%
Wisconsin was up  1.5%
Michigan was up 3.5%
Pennsylvania was up 3.0%
New York was up 3.6%

In Vermont milk was up 0.9% to 235 million lbs., milk was up 40 lbs. to 1820 lbs. per cow per month, and cows numbered 129,000, down from 131,000 a year ago.

Milk Prices: Class III and Class IV prices are down a bit since last month.  Class III prices look to remain at $15 to $16 range with no view of $17 in the next year.  Class IV prices are running $1 or more below Class III prices.  Unless exports, milk powder, or butter takes a jump, cheese will be driving dairy prices for the next 9 months. Margins look think through the coming year with no real reprieve from low prices.

      CME Prices April 21, 2017
          Class III     Class IV 
 April     $15.45       $13.95
 May       $15.62       $14.07
 June      $15.82       $14.46
 July      $16.26       $14.45
 August    $16.62       $14.69
 Sept      $16.72       $15.00
 Oct       $16.61       $15.19
 Nov       $16.56       $15.26
 Dec       $16.45       $15.30

Feed Prices: Prices for corn are down about 5 cents, soybeans down 40 cents, and meal down about $10.  The soybean yield has been good coming out of South America. Planting intentions indicate soybeans my surpass corn acreage this year.  Grain farmers are concerned about Trump moves on trade as any moves could lead to decreased US exports, and lower prices.  Lower prices are bad for grain farmers but good for dairy farmers. Lower prices should increase margins over feed costs.

     CME Prices April 21, 2017
            Corn      Soy     Meal
 May 17    $3.56     $9.51    $310
 Sept 17   $3.70     $9.61    $316
 Dec 17    $3.81     $9.67    $316

Return over Feed Costs for MPP program: The return over feed costs for March-April is expected at $9.06.  The estimated return over feed costs for the next 12 months drops to $8.76 in May-June and rises to $10.11 for Nov-Dec.  From just 3 months ago, the Expected Returns were all above $10 and now we have a chance to see it drop below $7.50 Let’s hope that the decision of most farmers not to sign up for anything higher than the $4 level remains the right decision for the year. Insurance can be a strange tool, you hope never to use it but glad it’s there if you need it.

* For the table below, the 8% in the May-June 2017 column and < $8.00 row means there is an 8% expected chance at this time that the return over feed costs will drop below $8.00 per cwt for May-June period. The expected return over feed costs for May-June 2017 is $8.76 per cwt, 8 cents higher than last month.

Cows and Crops April 2017

April 27th, 2017 12:35 PM
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Cows and Crops — April 2017

In this issue:


Upcoming Events

No-till Tuesday Webinars

Some of you may have tuned in to these, but in case you missed it, here is a link to the recorded webinars.  John Jemison and I did the most recent one focused on no-till soils.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaZCgOs78cqjX0yDCwhAIJEa5XYZ39nAb

For those of you considering switching to no-till, the next webinar on Tuesday May 2nd will feature Jeff Sanders discussing no-till equipment and set-up.  To register for the webinar on Tuesday, visit http://go.uvm.edu/notill

Colostrum – Not Just Antibodies Anymore

David Marcinkowski

We have known for a long time about the importance of giving a calf colostrum ASAP after it’s born so it gains adequate antibody protection from diseases in early life.  However recent research indicates that there may be a whole host of other reasons why colostrum is important.

Gold Standards of Colostrum Management

First let’s review the current recommendations for colostrum management. In 2016 the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association (DCHA) published their “Gold Standards” for colostrum management.

The following are their recommendations to maximize calf immunity:

Colostrum Quality

  • Harvesting procedures should result in clean, wholesome colostrum that is free of infectious pathogens and low in bacteria.
  • Colostrum should be free of blood, debris and mastitis
  • Colostrum should be disease-free
  • Test for quality with a colostrum tester or IgG test
  • Target bacteria count (also known as standard plate count) is <100,000 cfu/ml
  • In cases where clean, high-quality maternal colostrum is unavailable, feed commercial colostrum replacer

Quantity and Timing

  • First-feeding of colostrum should equal 10% of body weight and be fed in the first 2 hours of life. For example, a 90-lb. calf should receive 4 quarts of colostrum.

Evaluation of Colostrum Management

  • Target immunity level of animals at 2 to 7 days of age is:
    • a total blood protein level > 5.2 g/dL colostrum-fed calves; or
    • a serum IgG of >10.0 g/L
  • Do calves meet the standards for mortality, morbidity and growth found in Table 1.?

Table 1. Mortality, Morbidity and Growth Standards for Dairy Calves

Age of Calf

Days

Death Loss

%

Percent Treated for Scours Percent Treated for Pneumonia Growth Rate

Lbs/day

1 – 60 <5% <25% <10% Double Birthweight by 60 days
61 – 120 <2% <2% <15% 2.2*
121 – 180 <1% <1% <2% 2.0*

*Growth rate less for Jersey calves

The DCHA standards are excellent guidelines that all dairy farms should strive for, however we know from numerous studies and surveys that a significant number of farms fail to achieve some of these standards.

The 2014 NAHMS Dairy Survey of farms from across the US found that only 42% of Holstein calves received the required 4 quarts of colostrum at the first feeding. They also found that only 15.5% of farms routinely tested colostrum for quality and 6.2% of farms routinely monitored serum protein levels in calves to assess passive transfer of antibodies. The 2007 survey found 19.2% of calves tested had insufficient blood antibody levels to provide adequate immunity from disease.

You’ll notice the standards also include a maximum bacteria count of 100,000 /ml for colostrum as well. Colostrum is an excellent medium for bacterial growth. Bacterial populations in colostrum kept at room temperature double every 20-30 minutes. In a 2007 survey of Pennsylvania herds the average bacteria count in the colostrum fed to calves was nearly 1 million cfu/mL. This was 10 times higher than the DCHA standard. There findings indicate the need for better handling and cooling of the colostrum on farms to reduced bacterial growth.

Nutritional Boost

Up until now we have talked about colostrum as it affects the immunity of the calf, however colostrum is also packed with nutrients that give the newborn calf a boost.

Table 2. Colostrum Composition

Item Milking Milk
1 2 3
Specific Gravity 1.056 1.040 1.035 1.032
Solids % 23.9 17.9 14.1 12.9
Protein % 14.0 8.4 5.1 3.1
Casein % 4.8 4.3 3.8 2.5
IgG, mg.ml 48.0 25.0 15.0 0.6
Fat % 6.7 5.4 3.9 3.7
Lactose % 2.7 3.9 4.4 5.0
Vitamin A ug/L 2950 1900 1130 340

From Foley and Otterby 1978

As you can see from Table 2., colostrum contains four times more protein, and nearly twice as much solids and fat as whole milk. Since fat contains much more energy than either carbohydrates or proteins, the higher fat content of colostrum gives the calf more available energy to deal with the stresses of early life. Much of the protein in that first colostrum is in the form of antibodies, however colostrum also contains higher levels of other milk proteins. These easily digested milk proteins may give the calf’s body a large dose of amino acids that the calf can quickly utilize to live and grow. Studies have shown that calves that continue to receive colostrum for several days after birth grow faster than calves that received either transition milk or whole milk.

Other Things in Colostrum

It is estimated that milk and colostrum is a combination of more than 100,000 different chemical substances. Some are directly transferred from the cow’s blood stream while others are manufactured by the milk producing cells in the udder. Colostrum contains higher levels of proteins, immunoglobulins, peptides, hormones, growth factors, enzymes, minerals and vitamins as well as a whole host of other bioactive compounds. Some of the major components have been studied quite closely while some of the smaller components, scientists are just starting to learn a little about.

We do know that colostrum has major impacts on the small intestines. There is an increase in the size, protein synthesis and the activity of certain enzymes in the intestines that does not occur if animals are given milk rather than colostrum. This is probably due to the effect a number of the hormones and growth factors have on the GI tract which then improve the calf’s ability to absorb nutrients from consumed feed and improve the feed efficiency. This seems particularly true of glucose, which is higher in blood of colostrum fed calves. This glucose, derived mainly from the lactose in the milk or milk replacers, puts the calf in a higher energy state enabling them to better withstand cold temperatures and stresses.

These metabolic changes due to colostrum feeding certainly have a positive effect on the growth of the calf for the first few months of life, however some researchers believe that the effects are much longer than that. Several studies have shown that calves receiving a high plane of nutrition in the first two months of age, produced 1,000 to 3,000 lbs. more milk in first lactation. Colostrum may play an important role in the ability of calves to achieve this higher plane of nutrition. Not everyone in the research community acknowledges these long term effects, however even the short term effects of colostrum feeding are more than enough justification for dairy producers to follow the DCHA gold standards of colostrum management.

4-H Dairy Judging Contest Results

On April 8th, 2017, 4-H Youth from around the state gathered for the State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest. Jersey judging started in the morning at the Lowell Family Farm, owned and operated by Dana and Seri Lowell’s in Buckfield. The group then travel to Pineland Farms Inc. for the judging of Holsteins and oral reasons. Contestants judged 6 classes of cattle with two sets of oral reasons. In the Cloverbud competition, ages 8 and under, the winner was Katarina Leach from Arundel. In the Junior competition, the winner was Camryn Caruso from Gorham. And Senior competition was won by Calli-Ann Leach from Arundel. In addition to Calli-Ann, the team which will represent Maine at the Big E will include Alyvia Caruso of Gorham, Emma Hawkes of  Westbrook and Jaymee Rankin of  Cornish. Thank you to the Lowell’s and Pineland for allowing the youth to judge their cattle. Congratulations to all the winners and best of luck at the Big E!

Dairy Situation and Outlook, April 20, 2017
Bob Cropp
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension

http://future.aae.wisc.edu/outlook/cropp_apr_17.pdf

Northeast Milk Price Forecasts, 2016‐2017
Bob Wellington
Agrimark Inc
April 17, 2017

https://www.agrimark.net/PDFs/AM_Weekly_Updates.pdf

 

Cows and Crops March 2017

March 1st, 2017 4:11 PM
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Cows and Crops — March 2017

In this issue:


Upcoming Events

Precision Ag Meeting:
Upgrading Your Cropping Systems with Precision Agriculture

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 from 9:30-2:30 at the Best Western, 375 Main St, Waterville, ME

Pre-registration is required. For more info and to register: https://extension.umaine.edu/waldo/precision-ag-meeting/

2017 Maine Dairy Seminar & MDIA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at the Elks Lodge in Waterville, ME

Sponsored by the Maine Dairy Industry Association, registration for this event is free for dairy farmers and includes refreshments and lunch. Advanced Registration by mail, email, phone or fax must be received by Monday, March 6, 2017. Registration after this date or at the door will be $25.

Guest Speaker is Tom Kilcer of Kinderhook, NY, a private consultant conducting research on forages crops and plant nutrition in partnerships with both university and private industry. His topic for this event is: “Forage Strategies for Northeast Dairy Farms”. Dr. Juan Romero, Assistant Professor of Animal Science with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, will also speak about his Enzyme and Silage Inoculant Research. The Seminar also includes the MDIA Annual Meeting, Maine Dairy Shrine Award, and Industry Updates.

For more information, or to register, contact Melissa Libby at melissa.libby1@maine.edu or 1.800.287.7170, or Fax 207.581.4430.

2017 Maine Grass Farmers Network Annual Grazing Conference

March 18, 2017 from 8:30am – 3:30 pm at the Alfond Campus, KVCC, US Rt 201, Hinckley, ME

Featuring Keynote Speakers: Dr. Fred Provenza, Dr. Hue Karreman and Suzanne Nelson

For more info and to register: https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/mgfn/conference/

Tractor Safety Courses in Maine

Many of you may be employing teenagers on your farm this summer or maybe even have some new employees who have never driven tractors before. For youth ages 14-16, who are not family members, they need to have taken and passed an approved tractor safety class for them to be able to operate machinery as part of their employment on a farm.

UMaine Cooperative Extension will be offering approved tractor safety classes in several counties this spring. Dates and locations are currently being finalized and information can be found at our tractor safety website.

Currently the plan is to hold classes in Cumberland, Knox/Lincoln, Waldo, Kennebec and Oxford Counties. For more information, contact Rick Kersbergen at 207.342.5971 or Richard.kersbergen@maine.edu


 Northeastern Region Annual Milk Production Report

By Bob Parsons, UVM

Highlights: Annual Milk Production for 2016 up 1.8%, average milk production was 22,774 lbs per cow, Jan milk production up 2.7%, with cow numbers up, All major states up in milk.  Maine up 6.1%! Class III milk prices at $16 neighborhood through Sept, Crop prices flat to slightly lower, MPP Margins for next year above insurable levels of $8 with lowest at $9.50.  (See MPP Expectations in Table at end of Email).

Milk production was up 1.8% from 2015 at 212 billion pounds. Annual total milk production has increased 14.4 percent from 2007. Production per cow in the United States averaged 22,774 pounds per cow for 2016, 378 pounds above 2015 and up 12.7% from 2007.

The average number of milk cows on farms in the United States during 2016 was 9.33 million head, up 0.2 percent from 2015. The average annual number of milk cows has increased 1.5 percent from 2007.

Annual Production across the US in 2016:
West:
California was up -1.0%
Idaho was up 3.9%
New Mexico was down -1.5%
Texas was up 4.6%

Upper Mid-West and Northeast:
Minnesota was up 2.2%
Wisconsin was up 3.5%
Michigan was up 6.0%
Pennsylvania was up 0.2%
New York was up 4.8%

In Maine milk was up in 2016 by 6.1% to 630 Million lbs. and milk per cow at 21,000 lbs. from 19,800 lbs. in 2015

Point of interest:  Highest average milk product in the US was 25,980 lbs. per cow in Colorado followed by Michigan with 25,957.

January 2017 Report:
Milk production in January was up 2.7%, following a 2.6% in December. Production per cow was up 37 lbs per cow per month from last year. Cow numbers in the US in January was up 67,0000 over last year and 6.000 more than December 2016.

Production across the US in January:

West:
California was up 0.7%
Idaho was up 1.0%
New Mexico was up 15.3%
Texas was up 19.2%

Upper Mid-West and Northeast:
Minnesota was up 1.7%
Wisconsin was up 1.0%
Michigan was up 3.5%
Pennsylvania was up 2.0%
New York was up 3.8%
Tidbits: Milk is coming back in Texas and New Mexico over last year’s snow disaster.

Milk Prices: Class III prices dropped in later months and remain at $16 throughout the year to hit a high of $17 level by Sept.  Class IV dropped for near months and by Sept are still $1 below Class III prices.  Remember that Mexico is our biggest milk trading partner so be apprehensive about trade conflicts.

CME Prices February 24, 2017
                Class III     Class IV

Feb          $16.86       $15.66
March     $16.23       $15.09
April        $16.23       $14.60
May         $16.43       $14.85
June        $16.65       $15.10
July          $16.96       $15.43
August    $17.09       $15.72
Sept         $17.10       $15.88
Oct           $17.09       $16.00

Feed Prices: Corn and meal prices are about the same with soybean prices dipping some.  Until we have planting reports, prices likely to remain the same.  Remember trade pacts, China buys most of our soybean exports.

CME Prices February 24, 2017
                 Corn     Soy         Meal
Mar 17    $3.65    $10.16    $333
Sept 17   $3.85     $10.19    $337
Dec 17    $3.92    $10.14     $332

Milk Feed Ratio
The M-F ratio for November increased to 2.7, showing a more favorable milk to feed price.

Milk-Feed Ratio
Nov  15   2.42
Dec  15   2.27
Jan  16   2.14
Feb  16   2.15
Mar  16   2.08
Apr  16   1.97
May  16   1.89
June 16   1.91
July 16   2.14
Sept 16   2.47
Oct  16   2.37
Nov  16   2.56
Dec  16   2.70

Return over Feed Costs for MPP program: The expected return over feed costs for Jan-Feb is $10.65.  The next 12 months shows expected returns from $9.50 to $10.39.  From the current estimates, it does not look that taking MPP insurance would pay this year but we can never be sure if feed prices will rise or milk prices drop or both.

* For the table above, the 2% in the May-June 2017 column and < $7.50 row means there is a 2% expected chance at this time that the return over feed costs will drop below $$7.50 per cwt for the May-June period. The expected return over feed costs for May-June 2017 is $9.50 per cwt.


Farm Safety

By Richard Kersbergen, UMaine Extension, Richard.kersbergen@maine.edu 

As winter looses its grip on us and spring begins, it is critical that you and your equipment are ready to go. As you all know, timely harvests are the number one factor in having quality forage for your cows and the most important way to help improve profitability on your farm. Having your equipment ready to plant or harvest is critical to quality forage.

While getting your equipment functional is one aspect, improving the safety of your equipment is also key to good spring preparation. Agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the nation. You are constantly exposed to the risk of physical injury from powerful and dangerous equipment along with exposure to noise, hazardous chemicals, dusts and molds.

Although Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been p[roven to prevent injury and promote farmer’s health, access to the necessary equipment can sometimes be a limiting factor, especially in rural settings. This past winter at the Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta, Cooperative Extension, through a partnership with Bassett Hospital and the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), was able to give away PTO shaft replacement guards and Slow Moving Vehicle signs (SMV). Based on the fact that our supply was gone within a few hours of the opening day, there is obviously a need to farmers for this safety equipment!

NYCAMH and the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety in Agriculture Forestry and Fishing (NEC) has created a PPE program that offers a variety of selected products that are affordable and appropriate for farmers. The program features convenient access, low costs and an inventory of continually updated merchandise. The products are available by mail. The catalog is on-line and features equipment and PPE that should be part of your spring “tune-up” program.

These products, such as the PTO shields, SMV signs along with a eye, ear and other PPE products can also be ordered by phone at 1-800-343-7527.

Don’t let you, your family or your employees become another injury or death statistic. Prepare by making sure that you and your equipment are reading for spring!


2017 Maine 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Results

On February 19, 2017 4-H dairy youth from all over the state gathered at the University of Maine – Augusta for the Maine Dairy Quiz Bowl and Eastern States Dairy Quiz Bowl Team Selection. Twenty youth participated, 7 in the Junior Division and 13 in the Senior Division.

The winning junior was Sydney Bullard. In the seniors, the winner was Keltan Tanguay. The Eastern States Team which represent Maine at the Big E will be Keltan, along with Mackensie Schofield, Owen Brown and Bradley Smith. Alternates for the team will be Elizabeth Clock and Gabbie Guillemette.


Now is the Time to Plan Your Forage Inventory for Next Year

A few months ago I wrote a short article on using Pearson Square to calculate the ratio of forages to best balance rations for different groups of cattle on your farm. Armed with that information, you can calculate the amounts of forage needed for the coming forage season so that you are ready for the next year of feeding.

For example, if you needed to mix 50% corn silage and 50% grass silage to get the desired forage energy in your mix, you would take the daily lbs of dry matter of each forage to feed the cows in that group each day. You would repeat this exercise for each group of cattle on your farm (different groups will likely need different ratios of the feed you have available). Converting the tons of dry matter needed back to as-fed lbs of feed gives you a rough estimate of the total tons of each forage needed to get through the next years’ feeding period.

We can’t stop there, because we need to determine how many tons of feed need to be harvested and put in the silo so that adequate forage is available for feeding. So we have to correct the tons of feed delivered to animals to include an accounting for harvest, storage and feedout losses. Depending on your farm operation, this may be all fermented feed or a combination of fermented feed and dry hay. The University of Wisconsin has some useful estimates of feedout losses in their publication “Feedout Losses from Forage Storage Systems” by Jerry Clark, Brian Holmes and Richard Muck. The following tables from that publication detail dry hay losses with different feeding systems.

Hay Wasted by cows when fed with and without racks

Bale type Percent Wasted
Square bale in rack 7
Large round bale in rack 9
Large round bale w/out rack 45

From: Anderson, B., and Mader, T., 1996. University of Nebraska, “Management to Minimize Hay Waste”,
Publication G84-738-A

Hay wasted by cows when large round bales are fed with different racks

Bale type Percent Wasted
Cone feeder 3.5
Ring Feeder 6.1
Trailer Feeder 11.4
Cradle Feeder 14.6

From: Buskirk, D.D., A.J. Zanella, T.M. harrigan, J.L. Van Lente, L.M. Gnagey and M.J. Kaercher. 2003. Large
round bale feeder design affects hay utilization and beef cow behavior. J. Anim. Sci. 2003. 81:109-115.

The Wisconsin authors estimate that cattle with access to free choice hay waste more than those who are fed what is needed on a daily basis; that estimate ranges from 25-45% more hay needed.

Every producer works to pack their silos as tight as possible to exclude air and setup conditions for good fermentation. Other factors that affect silage spoilage are the amount of face fed out on a daily basis and how silage is removed from the silo face (ie. minimizing the amount of oxygen incorporated into the silo face; this is why silo facers work well compared with bucket loaders). The Wisconsin publication has a very nice graphic showing dry matter loss of silage of different densities as the inches of silage fed off the face increases. As you can imagine, the smaller amount of face removed per day and the less dense the silage is packed increases the dry matter loss. In looking at their graph of dry matter loss, a feedout rate of 2 inches per day corresponds roughly to a dry matter loss of 12% for silage at 30 lbs per sq ft, 10% at 40 lbs per sq ft, 6% at 50 lbs per sq ft and 3% at 60 lbs per sq ft. Three percent is the goal. The tighter the silage is packed and the more face fed per day decreases the dry matter loss; once you get to 8 inches of face fed per day, all the densities are at or below 3% dry matter loss (these are my estimates from looking at the graph).

Further detail on dry matter losses can be found at either Pitt, R.E. and R.E. Muck. 1993. A diffusion model of aerobic deterioration at the exposed face of bunker silos. J. Agricultural Engineering Research 55:11-26. Or Holmes, B.J. and R.E. Muck 2007. Packing Bunker and Piles to Maximize Forage Preservation. Proceedings of the Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference. ASABE and Harvest and Storage page of Team Forage website. http://fyi.uwex.edu/forage/files/2014/01/PackingBunkersPiles.pdf

These data can be helpful in designing bunker silos for use on your farm. The Wisconsin researchers recommend never removing less than 4 inches of face during the summer and 3 inches in the winter with an estimate of a foot a day. A way to compare your silo with these recommendations is to calculate how much silage is removed from a silo per day. Make sure you record the amount of feed loaded out of the silo into your mixer wagon; record any feed that is not included in the mix, but is discarded. Mark the silo wall at the beginning of a day and then mark the silo wall after feed has been removed for 10 days. Measure the distance the face has moved in inches and divide by 10. How does the inches of face fed on your farm compare with the recommendations? Calculating the area of your silo face can then be used with the total lbs of feed removed to calculate the density of forage in your bunker silo. (Remember, this is based on the height of the silo face being constant through the measuring period). How does your density of silage compare with the numbers above? Calculating the lbs of feed removed that was put into the mixer wagon can give you a percent of feed removed that is fed. Feed that is fed and not consumed can give you information on the intake of your cattle. All very important information for your farm management and your nutrition advisor. These data can be helpful in designing the appropriate width of a feeding face for your herd and can be helpful in designing or redesigning silage storage changes for the farm.

I have pulled out just a few numbers that you can collect on your bunker silo to get an estimate of your potential losses.  Holmes and Muck estimate that total dry matter losses in a covered bunker silo are in the range of 16-23% for silage harvested at 70% moisture and 18-31% for silage harvested at 60% moisture. These dramatically increase the lbs of forage you need to have in your silos to feed your cows all year.   All of these increase the cost of forage harvested, but also increase the amount of forage you need to feed your animals. I have only discussed bunker silos in this article, but there are similar calculations for tower silos, bags, and piles. More detailed information can be found at Preventing Silage Storage Losses by B.J. Holmes and R.E. Muck, University of Wisconsin-Madison and US Dairy Forage Research Center, respectively. Their full article can be found at http://fyi.uwex.edu/forage/files/2014/01/prevent-silage-storage7.pdf


Evaluating Your Own Farm Shop

By Richard Brzozowski, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu

This list of questions is designed to help bring attention to items or conditions that may need to be corrected or improved in your farm shop. The end goal is to make your shop safe and useful. As you respond to each question, think of ways to optimize any aspect of your shop. Make a list of the steps or actions you would like to do for specific improvements. Prioritize the steps that you plan to take for improving your farm shop. Consider accomplishing easy-to-correct steps first (perhaps those that take little time or of low cost).

Ask yourself the following questions.

Consider involving key workers and/or family members to address these questions.

  1. Is there enough space for the functions that need to be accomplished in the shop?
    Consider every season when contemplating shop functions. Yes___   No___

If there’s not enough space, what can I do to improve space issues?

  1. Can all farm equipment be pulled into the shop for repair or for preventative maintenance? Yes___  No___

If not, is there a way to rectify the situation?

  1. Is my farm shop equipped with the necessary equipment and tools (hand tools and power tools) for the tasks I typically perform? Yes___   No___

If not, what equipment or tools should I consider obtaining?

  1. Are the equipment and tools in my farm shop in good working order? Yes___   No___

If not, what equipment or tools need to be discarded, repaired or replaced?

  1. Is my shop well organized? Yes___   No___

Can I (or others) find any tool when needed?

Can I (or others) find any supply item when needed?

Can I (or others) find all operators manuals?

Can I (or others) find all materials safety data sheets?

  1. Is my shop clean and tidy (uncluttered)? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Can I move about the shop easily? Consider flooring and flow of work. Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is there adequate electrical power to all units (circuits)? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is light (natural and provided) adequate for the tasks that I typically need to perform? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Can I work comfortably in any season in my farm shop? Yes___   No___

Is the shop dry?

Is the shop warm?

Can the shop be heated when necessary?

  1. Is my shop well ventilated for good air exchange especially when welding, grinding, sanding, sand blasting or painting (or when fumes might exist)? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is there a phone in the farm shop (or some means to call in or call out)? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is there a first aid kit and is it well stocked? Yes___   No___

If not, what should be added or replaced in the kit?

  1. Is all of the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) easily available and in good working condition?
  2. If not, what can be done to improve this aspect?
  1. Is any part of the shop a hazardous area? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is my shop securable to restrict entry by others? Yes___   No___

If not, what can be done to improve this aspect of the shop?

  1. Is all powered equipment in my shop unplugged and/or locked out when not in use? Yes___   No___
  1. Do I have a restroom facility that is convenient to the shop?          Yes___   No___
  1. Is there a place in my farm shop where a worker can clean up (such as a sink or shower)? Yes___  No___

Maine Dairy Seminar March 14, 2017

January 30th, 2017 2:03 PM
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cows

Maine Dairy Seminar  2017

and MDIA Annual Meeting

March 14, 2017

Waterville Elks Club
From Interstate 95, take Exit 130, then go south. Turn left on
Armory St., then left again on Industrial St

9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Advanced registration for the Dairy Seminar is Free!! (Sponsored by the Maine Dairy Industry Association)
and includes refreshments and lunch. Advanced registration by mail, email, phone or fax must be received by Monday, March 6, 2017.
Registration after this date or at the door will be $22.

Phone, Fax or Email To:
Tel: 1-800-287-7170 (Maine only) or (207) 581-2788 Fax: (207) 581-4430
Email: melissa.libby1@maine.edu

Featured Speaker:  Mr. Tom Kilcer,

Tom Kilcer grew up on a dairy farm in Columbia County, New York. After a BS degree in Fisheries Science from Cornell he worked on environmental impact studies for nuclear plants. In 1976 he obtained a second BS in Agronomy from Iowa State. Tom worked for 34 years as an Extension Field Crop and Soils Educator and Program Leader for Agriculture/Horticulture at Cornell Cooperative Extension. For the past 8 years he has been a private consultant, conducting research on forages crops and plant nutrition in partnerships with both university and private industry.

Tom’s recent work has focused on alternative forage crops, deep zone tillage, soil health and nitrogen application rates.  His latest research has involved wide swath haylage harvesting to improve the capture of plant nutrients for milk production and reduce weather related losses.  This work is being expanded to develop methods for the rapid drying and harvesting of other forage crops.  His winter forage research has examined double cropping in the Northeast US and southern Canada for the profitable production of cover crops for use as high quality forage.

Tom’s work in these areas has been published in regional and national magazines and refereed journals. It has been presented at symposia and seminars in multiple states and foreign countries.

 

Full Program:

Schedule of Events

9:00 AM

Registration, Refreshments, and Trade Show

9:30 AM

Harvest for ProfitThomas Kilcer, Advanced Ag systems, Kinderhook, NY

10:30 AM

MDIA Annual MeetingElection of OfficersLegislative UpdateMDIA Projects and Activities

11:30 AM

Maine Dairy Shrine Awards

11:45 AM

Introduction of Trade Show Participants

12:00 PM

Buffet Lunch and Trade Show

1:20 PM

Industry Updates

1:30 PM

Maine Dairy Farm Family of the Year Virtual Tour

1:45 PM

Hay and Silage Additives

Dr. Juan Romero,

Assistant Professor of Animal Science, University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, Orono, ME

2:15 PM

Harvest for Profit, Continued

Thomas Kilcer, Advanced Ag systems, Kinderhook, NY

3:30 PM

Questions and Adjourn

 

 


 

UMaine Extension to celebrate farming at Maine Agricultural Trades Show, through publications

January 11th, 2017 10:21 AM
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This month, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will celebrate farming in the state at the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show.

Residents are encouraged to visit the UMaine Extension booth during the show, Jan. 10–12 at the Augusta Civic Center.

UMaine Extension offers a variety of farming resources, including several publications:

This series recognizes that the needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision-making. The series consists of five fact sheets.

Have you ever thought about moving to a farm and wondered whether it’s the right life for you and your family? Answering the questions in this four-page bulletin related to the realities of farming in Maine will help you decide.

Farm accidents can cause serious injury or death, and present tremendous financial challenges to small-scale farmers. Many accidents can be prevented through education. This series of 66 fact sheets forms a comprehensive farm safety library.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for more farming and gardening information, including new bulletins:

Other seasonal publications include:

Master Gardener Volunteers served 35,000 hours for educational, food security projects in 2016

December 30th, 2016 3:40 PM
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University of Maine Cooperative Extension is celebrating the 952 Master Gardener Volunteers who, combined, gave more than 35,000 hours of their time to a variety of educational and food security projects in 2016.

The team supported 80 community gardens, 86 school gardens, 103 demonstration gardens and 56 programs involving 1,579 youth in horticulture activities this year. Those involved with food security projects distributed 257,426 pounds of food to 142 food distribution agencies and countless neighbors in need as part of the Maine Harvest for Hunger program.

The Master Gardener Volunteers program provides participants with a minimum of 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees receive current, research-based information from UMaine Extension educators and industry experts, and are connected with service projects that match their interests, skill set and availability.

All gardeners are encouraged to join the Master Gardener Volunteers team. Several counties are now accepting applications for local training programs starting this winter with application deadlines as early as Jan. 4.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 800.287.0274 or visit the UMaine Extension website.

UMaine Extension names new sustainable agriculture professor for Aroostook County

December 30th, 2016 2:55 PM
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Sukhwinder Bali has been appointed University of Maine Cooperative Extension assistant professor and University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) assistant professor of sustainable agriculture.

Bali earned a master’s degree in soil science with a minor in botany from Punjab Agricultural University. She recently completed a second master’s degree in natural resource management from North Dakota State University. Bali has lived in Maine since September 2015.

Based in the Aroostook County Extension office, Bali will join a team of Extension and University of Maine at Presque Isle staff and will provide classroom instruction at UMPI. She will develop and conduct educational outreach and applied research with an emphasis on Aroostook County, work with other faculty to offer off-campus programs addressing the educational needs of commercial agriculture and teach academic courses in the UMPI sustainable agriculture concentration.

UMaine Extension also has hired Colt Knight as the new Extension livestock educator.

Knight grew up in West Virginia and has a background in livestock production and management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona where he researched grazing patterns of cattle using precision agriculture technologies.

With UMaine Extension, his focus will be on developing and conducting educational programs and applied research projects statewide with an emphasis on livestock enterprises, animal health and nutrition, meat science, small-farm management and sustainable farming practices.

Knight will begin at UMaine in Orono on Jan. 9.

More about the Extension livestock program is available online or by calling 581.3188.

Update on Avian Influenza: November, 2016

November 30th, 2016 2:34 PM
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free range chickenThere are no US outbreaks of AI at the moment, but the situation in Europe and Asia is troublesome. The world Organization for Animal Health (OIE) keeps a running tally of where/when highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI; H5 and H7 serotypes) occurs. As of now, they list 12 European/Northern Asian countries with current (November 2016) reported outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI. The affected countries are Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. There are also other non-European countries (India, Israel, Iran) with the same strain of HPAI. As well, other strains of HPAI are currently present in Algeria, (H7N1), Japan, and South Korea (H5N6). Activity to contain and control HPAI is ongoing, via eradication, cleaning, and confirmation of clearance. Migratory waterfowl are important as reservoirs of HPAI worldwide, but farm-to-farm spread has been thought to be due to human error, and occasionally due to airborne transmission from fields visited by waterfowl. As ever, prevention of spread by the use of biosecurity practices is paramount; see USDA’s Biosecurity for Birds to review.