2019 Conservation Farmer of the Year

November 5, 2019; 10:00 am – 2:00 pm  

At the Addison Fire Station, 44 VT Rte 17, Addison, VT  

The Otter Creek Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCD) recently named the Correia Family, owners of Wynsum Holstein’s, as the 2019 Conservation Farmer of the Year and will be hosting an event to honor the family.   

There will be a free lunch, but please RSVP by October 18, to Pam Stefanek at Pam.Stefanek@vt.nacdnet.net   

Tony and Barbara, along with their sons Jeff and Stephen, manage a herd of over 400 Holstein’s at their medium sized operation in Addison, Vermont. Their farm is in the McKenzie Brook Watershed, which was identified as a priority area of focus for USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The Correia’s work closely with conservationists and have developed a conservation plan in partnership with the NRCS and Otter Creek NRCD. They grow corn, grasses, and alfalfa, and practice no-till, reduced-till and cover cropping. They have also worked with NRCS to install a rock-lined grassed waterway. Wynsum is named after an old English word for “pleasant natured”, and forty-five years after it was first founded, the family remains committed to conserving natural resources on and around their operation.

Stay Cool and Read Our Newsletter – Summer 2019

In this Issue:

  • Focus on Agriculture: Summer Seeding Options & Other Management Adjustments, by Jeff Carter
  • News, Events & Info You Should Know
  • Save-the-Date 2020 No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium
  • USDA 2017 Census of Agriculture Results, by Kristin Williams
  • Focusing on Effectiveness with Grass-Fed Beef, by Cheryl Cesario
  • Vermont Farmers Are Conservation Leaders, by Nate Severy
  • Nutrient Mass Balance: Operating in the Green Zone?, by Rachel Orr 
  • Research Update: Gypsum Trails, by Kristin Williams

View our 2019 Summer Newsletter Here!

2018 Summer Newsletter is Here!

Read the entire PDF here!

In this Issue:
Blog links:

Field Day with Manure Grassland Injector!

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Barnes Black & Whiteface Ranch – Bridport Ventures Farm
Please join us to see our new grassland shallow slot manure injector in action!  

 

WHAT YOU’LL SEE & HEAR 

  • Veenhuis Euroject 1200 grassland injector.
  • Dragline manure application.
  • Hicks Sales LLC (Vermont Veenhuis dealer) will be on hand to talk about this technology and other models available in the United States.
  • Eric Severy, Matthew’s Trucking, will share his experience and expertise with manure injection and talk about how the equipment works and what situations might be best suited for it.
  • UVM Extension Agronomists will discuss the benefits of injection and how it can reduce runoff and increase yields.
  • Farmers will share their experience using other forms of manure injection.
  • Find out more about how to get this grassland injector on your farm.
DON’T FORGET TO RSVP:
champlain.crops@uvm.edu | 802-388-4969 x347
June 8, 2018
10:00 – 12:00
Or contact Kirsten Workman if you have questions or want more information.   
To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Karen Gallott at 802-388-4969 or 800-956-1125 by June 6, 2018 so we may assist you.

Spring 2018 Newsletter

Our Spring 2018 Newsletter is Out!


In this Issue:


READ OUR ENTIRE NEWSLETTER HERE


Got Questions? Contact Us! 802-388-4969

Winter 2018 Newsletter

In this Issue:
 
Focusing on Agriculture in the Champlain Valley and Beyond 
By Jeff Carter. Changes for a new year. 
 
News, Events & Info You Should Know 
Vermont Farm Show; Nutrient Management Planning; 5th Annual No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium; Organic Dairy Producers Conference; Farm Business Clinics. News and Event Info also on our blog page here. 
 
Should I Have Crop Insurance?  
By Jake Jacobs. Deciding if and what coverage makes sense for your business; upcoming deadline. 
 
UVM Extension Provides Financial Analysis for Producers Doing Water Quality Projects  
By Tony Kitsos. Opportunities still exist for farmers to receive assistance from Farm Business Planning on water quality projects. 
 
Fall Pasture Walks Highlight Extended Grazing Season 
By Cheryl Cesario. Two different farm pasture walks this fall addressed how local farmers approach management for extended fall grazing. 
 
Why Do We Care About Water Quality? 
Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition. Why we care and how we engage other farmers and the community at-large in the conversation. Join to add your voice!  
Winter is the Time to Focus on Record Keeping 
By Kristin Williams. Good record keeping is key to effective decision making, both in the financial word and for nutrient management.
 
Ongoing Field Research and a Look Forward
By Nate Severy. A look at work we’ve been doing this past fall that continues into the new year, and planning for spring planting success.
 

Fall 2017 Newsletter

Our Fall 2017 Newsletter is out! View it HERE.

In this Issue:

Focusing on Agriculture in the Champlain Valley and Beyond By Jeff Carter.  This season’s challenges and ways to move forward.

News, Events & Info You Should Know  Agricultural Conservation Highlights Tour; NMP Updates; Mock Inspections; Business and Ag Support for You; New Grazing Class; No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium. 

What Do I Do Now? RMA Update  By Jake Jacobs. Coping with weather unpredictability by planning ahead.

Demonstrating Success: Corn Hybrid Trials  By Kirsten Workman. Corn hybrid trials were a successful way to see what shorter season hybrids might be paired with cover crop adoption. 

Newsletter Feature – Grazing as a New Management Practice  By Cheryl Cesario. The process of adopting grazing management seen through one farmer’s experience. Also – new grazing class to teach you how to develop a grazing plan!

Managing Slugs Begins in the Fall  By Rico Balzano. Making decisions now to manage slugs next year.

Helping Farmers Adapt to a Changing Landscape By Nate Severy. UVM Extension and the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition are working together to provide farmers with valuable insights for adaptive management.

 

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EXPECT TO APPLY NITROGEN DUE TO THE WET WEATHER

By Rico Balzano, Agronomy Outreach Professional

Spring 2017 started relatively dry, but Mother Nature has certainly made up for it, with above average rainfall in May, and the seventh wettest June in 100 years (National Weather Service, Burlington, VT).

Applying nitrogen to corn, a process known as side-dressing.

While this spring’s rainfall may average out to be normal, the timing of it has caused some problems. Rain started to increase just as corn planting season began, keeping soils cold and postponing planting. Cold soils delayed emergence and slowed growth in planted fields. More to the point, nitrogen fertilizer that was applied pre-plant or at planting time has seen extremely susceptible to loss. Nitrogen is lost through denitrification in saturated soils, and is lost through leaching in well-drained soils. Either way, nitrogen is often not there when the corn needs it. This will prompt many farmers to think about applying nitrogen to corn while it is growing, a technique known as sidedressing, which is a more efficient

use of nitrogen, especially on soils prone to leaching.

The good news is that the organic nitrogen in manure has been slow to mineralize because of the cool temperatures and will still be there as the season progresses. However, it is safe to say many farms will be sidedressing corn with extra nitrogen this year.

Pre-sidedress nitrogen test samples at the UVM
Agricultural and Environmental Testing Lab.

The old, reliable way to predict how much sidedress nitrogen to apply is the pre-sidedress nitrogen test (PSNT). PSNTs are simple and affordable ($6-8). However, they require effort and only offer a snapshot in time; they do not account for previous activity nor for future nitrogen mineralization.

An alternative way to generate sidedress recommendations is Adapt-N software. Nitrogen is very dynamic in the soil so it is difficult to predict how much will be plant-available. Therefore, it is necessary to have as much information as possible about fertilizer, manure, previous crop and soil type to generate a good recommendation with Adapt-N. You can also assess the nitrogen needs of corn using chlorophyll meters, active sensors and aerial imagery. These can be effective when used properly, and local agricultural consultants can provide these services.

PSNT is recommended for corn fields 2 or more years after a sod, and/or where manure rate is uncertain, or if manure application is not expected to meet corn N requirement. PSNT is not recommended in first-year corn after a grass sod; first-year corn after an alfalfa grass stand is plowed down; or if enough manure was applied to meet corn N requirement.
Below are the PSNT sampling guidelines, a link to the UVM sample submission form, and the updated UVM nitrogen recommendations
based on PSNT results. Results are usually sent out within 24 hours since the information is time-sensitive.

PSNT Sampling Guidelines:
1. Wait 2-3 days after significant rainfall (due to nitrate
leaching).
2. Sample when corn is 6-12” tall and sample to a depth of
12” – deeper than a regular soil test.
3. Take 15-20 cores per field from in between rows to avoid
fertilizer bands. Mix sample thoroughly.
4. Air dry samples ASAP to stop further mineralization.
5. Submit samples in small plastic bag (about 1 cup).

Download the PSNT Form: go.uvm.edu/psntform
N Recommendations: go.uvm.edu/nitrogenrecs
More Info: go.uvm.edu/getpsnt

SPRING 2017 NEWSLETTER INTRODUCTION

FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE IN THE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY AND BEYOND

  By Jeff Carter, Agronomy Specialist,

Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture Team

Agronomy and Conservation Assistance Program

Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) classes have been a major emphasis of activity for the past months and 31 farmers completed their NMP through
the UVM Extension goCrop™ classes that were held in Richmond, Middlebury and Pawlet. Statewide, over 70 farmers completed the classes offered by the St. Albans and Middlebury Extension Crop teams so farmers can develop their own crop management plans. There are plenty of field meetings, corn planter clinics, farmer manure trainings, stream floodplain restriction discussions, and buffer workshops going on now and more to come this spring, all geared toward how farmers will adopt practices to meet the Required Agricultural Practices (RAP) rules. Stay updated about current events via e-mail: join our email list at
www.uvm.edu/extension/cvcrops.

Field Research/Demonstration

We will be starting some new projects this year with financial support from the NRCS Vermont Conservation Innovation Grant Program; the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; and the Northeast SARE program to continue our work with local farmers. One study
will start a benchmark program for the economics of growing cover crops and using no-till for crop planting. What is the true cost and benefit of moving to no-till with cover, and then how profitable are you? We need better data about the Vermont farms who have changed to these new crop systems to be sure of the right investments for your particular farm. Starting with a handful of farms who have agreed to provide the details
about their operations, the data from this project will reflect current finances of these conservation practices as they are used here on our soils.

Whole-farm phosphorus (P) mass balance has been around for some time,
but few farms complete the accounting of where the extra P comes from. We have a project to work with several farmers and their feed consultants to collect data on the extent of P imported to local dairy farms. This is good information to have, but really the issue is what to do then? Not all P is leaving the farms, and that is why farmers use the P-Index to better understand the risk of P loss and “plug” any leaks in the farm system.
We will be field testing the new 2017 Vermont P-Index and a new Northeast P-Index on several farms and relate that data to whole-farm P-Mass balances and farm conservation. We will collect data to help farmers with crop management decisions under the revised Vermont P-Index. This will then be used to address the NMP 590 standard, which is the basis for all farm nutrient plans. What to do then if you have a high phosphorus soil test? Another study we have is to evaluate the use of field applications of amendments to reduce soil test P in the field. We will be looking at three types of gypsum, including one with humates, also contrasted with short-paper fiber (SPF). When spring does get here, we
will also see how good the cover crops perform that we planted last fall.

VERMONT RAP RULES
The Vermont Required Agricultural Practices rules affects all farmers this year, and so it affects our Extension work. Focus on Agriculture means a focus on helping you to learn (like Poop Skool) and then figure out the best next steps to take (whatever that is). Give us a call, or just come to the meetings that we host with the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition.
This is a great way to keep up with new ideas so you can deal with changing times in Vermont agriculture.

Have a question for Jeff?
Jeff Carter (802) 388-4969 ext. 332
jeff.carter@uvm.edu

MANURE TRAINING FOR APPLICATORS AND FARMERS

Preparing for the Upcoming Season

By Nate Severy, Agronomy Outreach Professional

This winter we have been very busy putting together workshops and meetings focused on new manure spreading rules and how farmers and custom applicators can make them work on their farms. Manure or other “agricultural wastes” cannot be spread within 25 feet of a stream and 10 feet of a ditch. There are also new restrictions when spreading in floodplains, training requirements, and recordkeeping requirements. Everyone under the certified small, medium or large farm definition must spread manure according to a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP), and all farms must apply manure based on agronomic rates.

We received a grant last fall from the Vt. Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) to develop an educational and certification program for custom manure applicators in coordination with the Northwest Crop and Soil Team. This program will be very similar to the Pesticide Applicator Program: applicators will have to take and pass an exam, recertify yearly, and accumulate 8 hours of professional development over 5 years to maintain the certification. The first exam will take place next winter, most likely before Christmas.

For this upcoming cropping season, even though custom applicators will not have their applicator certification, these businesses will be expected to follow all of the RAPs pertaining to spreading manure, including keeping application records. To help everyone learn about the RAPs and what records need to be kept, we helped organize 3 custom manure applicator workshops and 5 farmer and custom applicator employee workshops throughout Vermont. At these events, attendees learned about the new rules and what is expected from them. These workshops also provided a forum where people were able to ask questions and engage in open dialogue with VAAFM staff. At each meeting there were good conversations that generated important questions and it is great to hear respectful conversations. Even when people do not agree they can still have a good discussion. We are here to help applicators sort out their questions about the RAPs and will continue to keep the dialogue going.

Going into the 2017 cropping season, I believe that recordkeeping is going be a big obstacle for many people. Good recordkeeping takes extra time, patience, and dedication, even on a small farm. If someone is not prepared, recordkeeping could be challenging for a custom applicator that spreads manure on thousands or even tens of thousands of acres on many different farms. At our meetings, we stressed that the key to good recordkeeping is to seamlessly integrate it into your business. Some are already doing this through technologies like UVM’s goCrop™ or flow meters where fieldby-field data is automatically recorded and downloaded into a computer. Other people have put recordkeeping logs on the back of employee timesheets and require that the employee fill out the log in order to be paid. For custom applicators who need help with recordkeeping, UVM Extension has developed a recordkeeping book (copies available at our office). Each page has a carbon copy so at the end of the day the applicator can fill out the page, tear off the top and give it to the farmer for his/her records, and then tear off the carbon copy and put it in a file at home. All of these systems are acceptable, but it is important to use the system that will work best for you, and will help strengthen your business going into the future. Even though there is an initial inertia required to make record keeping successful, the hope is that it can also pay off for the farmer by documenting and improving on agronomic practices.

If you have questions about manure application or would like more information or materials on record keeping, contact our office. If you do not have an NMP and need to obtain one, contact your local conservation district or NRCS office for funding possibilities.