Recent Planter Clinic

 

Jeff Sanders Speaking About No-Till Corn Planter Maintenance.
Jeff Sanders Speaking About No-Till Corn Planter Maintenance.

Last week we held a corn planter clinic, with a focus on no-till equipment maintenance. Rico Balzano organized the event and Jeff Sanders (NW Soils and Crops Team) spoke to a crowd that included about 30 (+) farmers, and other agriculture professionals. It was a very successful event, with constructive discussion. The clinic benefited both those considering no-till and those doing regular maintenance or upgrades on their equipment.

Jeff Sanders highlighted many different parts of the no-till corn planter that should be looked at and maintained for optimum performance. He highlighted the importance in no-till for successful opening and closing of the seed slot, and that maintenance should be focused on those pieces. He discussed different options to achieve that objective, and what people have had the most success with in VT. Jeff also talked about the importance of a level planter, of proper depth, and of seed placement in the seed slot. Proper maintenance of the planter will prevent doubles and skips, and ensure the slot is V-shaped and not W-shaped. He recommends getting off the tractor and looking at what the planter is doing and ensuring that it is planting properly. Jeff also emphasized that weather conditions and soil moisture will affect how successful no-till planting is, and particularly that fields that are saturated may not seed well.

Missed the Clinic? Do not despair.

Check out the checklist fact-sheet which can be downloaded:

Fact Sheet_No-Till Planter Checklist_2015.

We will hopefully be holding more events in the future! In the mean time, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Rico Balzano can be reached at (802) 388-4969 ext 338

or rico.balzano@uvm.edu

New Across the Fence Video

The 2015 No-Till and Cover Crop Symposium was featured recently on Across the Fence!

The t.v. segment also features Kirsten Workman and Jeff Sanders discussing research, trials, and use of both cover crops and no-till in Vermont.

Check out the video HERE!

Interested in trying a new practice on your farm this coming year?  We are happy to help you determine the best fit for your farm!

Contact Us!

 

 

Reading ‘Cow Signals’: Upcoming Workshop

Join us for a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the ‘Cow Signals’ program! Dr. Hubert Karreman will be on hand in both a classroom and a barn session.

When: Tuesday March 24, 2015

Where: Bridport,VT and Shoreham, VT

Cows send out signals continuously about their health, well-being, nutrition, and production. The challenge is how to interpret these signals and use them to maximize cow health and well-being. The ‘Cow Signals’ program teaches farmers how to interpret the behavior and physical characteristics of groups of cows and individuals.

Learn More: Click on the picture below to view the pdf of the event.

Cow Signals March 15

 

 

 

 

 

Register: https://www.regonline.com/cowsignals

Participate in the Annual Vermont Farm Show!

Judging at the VT Farm Show
Judging at the VT Farm Show

The annual Vermont Farm Show will be held on January the 27th-29th (Tues-Thurs), at the Champlain Valley Expo, in Essex Junction, VT. All community members are welcome and there is something for everyone! Children, and children at heart, always enjoy the equipment and animals on display, the public can come learn about innovative agriculture practices happening in their community, and ‘foodies’ will enjoy the Wednesday ‘Buy Local Market’. There will be opportunities to have friendly and engaging conversation with a variety of representatives in the agricultural community – from seed, machinery and product vendors, trade organizations, Extension agents, state and national technical advisers, and financial organizations.

Growers, artists and home-chefs can submit products for the annual product competition. Many types of products will be on display including maple syrup and maple products, vegetables, apples, field crops, Christmas trees and wreaths, honey, eggs, home goods, and fiber arts. The UVM Middlebury Extension office is your local drop-off site for product entries. Please drop off entries by noon on Monday January 26th. Just be sure to fill out your tag with appropriate information and follow product entry rules. For more information about the Farm Show and the product entry rules, visit the website: http://www.vtfarmshow.com or call (802) 461-8774. Feel free to contact the UVM Extension Middlebury office, (802) 338-4969 or (800) 956-1125, e-mail: champlain.crops@uvm.edu or stop by: 23 Pond Lane Suite 300, Middlebury, VT.

COVER CROP FIELD DAYS…Don’t Miss This!

Join the UVM Extension’s Champlain Valley Crop Soil & Pasture Team and Northwest Crops & Soils Program, the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition and local farms to check out what farmers around the Champlain Valley are doing on their farms to fit cover crops into their cropping systems.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FIELD DAY FLYER

RSVP Today @ (802) 388-4969 or  champlain.crops@uvm.edu

Friday, October 31st • Pouliot Farm • 1:00-3:00 PMpouliot cc
1478 VT Route 128, Westford, VT  05494
See annual ryegrass, white clover and forage radish mixed right in with Urea and seeded at sidedress time in July.  The Pouliots got a great catch, and now we can see how it survived the traffic during harvest, talk to the farmers about whether or not it competed with the corn, their herbicide program and see what they might change for next year.  An added bonus…Tony will bring out the Great Plains twin-row corn planter.

Thursday, November 6th • Vorsteveld Farm • 1:00-3:00 PM
1/3 Mile East of Panton Village on Panton Rd.
The Vorstevelds welcome us back to get a look at the cover crops that have been growing since mid-August, see the results of manure injection and more.  We’ll also see how their winter rye, winter wheat, oat, radish  cover crop is doing  that they seeded immediately after corn harvest…and how that cover crop did after manure was injected right after seeding.  We can also talk to the Vorstevelds about their ‘minimum till’ system they have been using on their heavy clay soils.  clifford_cig

Friday, November 7th • Clifford Farm • 1:00-3:00 PM
6147 VT Route 116, Starksboro, VT 05487
Check out results of two different cover crop studies – all in one field.  See 10 different three-way cover crop mixes, each planted in July, August and September.  We’ll also take a look at a research plots with winter rye drilled and broadcast, with and without Tillage Radish planted in mid-September.  All of these plots also have portions with and without manure applications.  We’ll also take a look at winter rye broadcast and rolled – per NRCS specifications.

RSVP Today @ (802) 388-4969 or  champlain.crops@uvm.edu

PLUS…Two more workshops in Franklin County:

Nov. 10th 1:00—3:00: A Tour of Cover Crops in St. Albans Bay (St. Albans)

Meet us at our office at 278 S. Main St, St. Albans BEFORE 1pm to join this tour. Depending on numbers, we may rent some vans.
Please RSVP by November 6.

Nov. 12th 1:00—3:00: Cover Crops at Borderview Research Farm (Alburgh)

Come learn about cover crops and our NWCS research looking at cover crop varieties, planting dates, and seeding rates at this field day at Roger and Claire Rainville’s Borderview Research Farm, 146 Line Road, Alburgh, VT
Directions: From Route 2 in Alburgh, turn onto Route 225 (Border Road). Drive toward the Canadian Border. As you approach the border, turn Left just BEFORE Customs. In front of you, there will be a dirt road (Line Road) that
goes West along the border. Borderview Farm is the first farm on the Left.

To RSVP for the Franklin County workshops by Nov. 6th:
Susan Brouillette at (802) 524-6501 x432 or susan.brouillette@uvm.edu

 

Manure and Cover Crops

Manure and Cover Crops…A Winning Combination

by Kirsten Workman, Agronomy Outreach Professional

Fall applied manure is often a subject of concern – for farmers, water quality advocates and even the general public. As you know, most farmers have the conundrum of having ideal field conditions for spreading manure in the fall (dry, open, great weather oftentimes) and a need for making sure they have adequate winter storage, but not wanting to lose out on the nutrients in that manure.. Especially producers who farm heavier soils with higher clay content, that try and avoid as much spring tillage as possible. If you are a no-till farmer, you know even better that fall applied manure without incorporation will not yield much of that nitrogen for you next year’s corn crop. You can lose up to 90% of your ammonium nitrogen with the right (or rather wrong) conditions.

fall manure credits
from Nutrient Recommendations for Field Crops in Vermont

So how do we make the most of fall applied manure… plant a cover crop, of course!! Fall applied manure as part of the establishment of a cover crop can be a win-win. Not only do you better utilize your manure, potentially doubling the amount of nitrogen retained, but your cover crop will perform better too. This all leads to better soil coverage, less erosion, better nutrient cycling, and lower fertilizer costs. Not a bad deal!

Last fall, we conducted a small demo/experiment at the Farm at VYCC in Richmond, Vt. Although this is not ‘scientific research’ per se, we did utilize a randomized split block design with three different treatments with and without manure. On October 2nd, we seeded 100 pounds of winter triticale per acre with different treatments of ‘Purple Bounty’ hairy vetch…either 10, 20 or 30 pounds per acre with the triticale. Five days later, liquid dairy manure was broadcast over half of all the plots at a rate of around 4,000 gallons per acre. We then measured percent cover one month later in November 2013 and then collected forage samples to analyze nutrient content, measured biomass, and re-measured percent cover on May 15th, right before the cover crop was plowed down. We found that the plots that received manure out performed those that didn’t in all aspects that were measured. Not surprisingly, a fertilized cover crop does better!! Plus you have better utilized your fall manure. The manured plots had double the biomass, double the nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium, and roughly one and half times the soil coverage in the fall and spring.

These plots have now been plowed down and were planted to ‘Early Riser’ corn (an 80 day flint/dent variety) on June 7th. No starter fertilizer was applied, and PSNT’s will be taken to make a recommendation for nitrogen later in the season.

vycc data

There is more to come on this topic. This fall will be commencing a two year research project that will investigate combinations of winter rye and tillage radish (in comparison to straight winter rye) established with diary manure. We hope to determine if the addition of the radish in manured systems can amplify winter rye’s effectiveness as a winter cover crop. We also hope to determine the most effective seeding rates and establishment methods.

vetch-cropped

Innovation is in the air…and on the ground

by Kirsten Workman, Agronomy Outreach Professional

(Originally published on the WAgN Blog on May 28, 2014)

 

The growing season if finally starting to take hold. I have seen corn plants poking through the ground, vegetable crops starting to look like something edible, and first cut hay is on the ground in some places with hopes of a dry day to bale tomorrow. And with a new growing season comes all the hope and suspense of another year…all the potential for the best year ever or the worst, or maybe something in between. Farmers are going all out this week. We may not be able to predict what the weather will do this year, but one thing is for certain. Farmers in Vermont are innovative.

Planting Green:  no-till planting corn into a standing crop of winter rye
Planting Green: no-till planting corn into a standing crop of winter rye

As I traveled from farm to farm today, I had the pleasure of talking with several different farmers – all of whom are trying something new this year. I saw fields of winter rye that were ‘planted green,’ that is no-till planted corn into standing rye before the cover crop was terminated. Innovation. I measured out 16 strips in a soon-to-be corn field with one farmer to help analyze two different reduced tillage systems this year. Innovation. He wants to interseed three different cover crops over those strips once the corn is up. Innovation. Another farm rounded out a SARE partnership project that analyzed two different cover crop mixes by no-till planting corn into those cover crops right next to a conventionally managed part of the field to see how these two systems will perform on his farm. Innovation. Another farm asked to borrow our GPS and try their hand at some precision agriculture. Innovation. A vegetable farmer is trying out different strategies to implement cover crops in his rotations for green manure, weed suppression, mulch and livestock forage. Innovation. A soybean grower has just modified his corn planter so he can no-till soybeans in 30-inch rows and will be trying out higher populations and some interseeded cover crops in those same soybeans. Innovation. I talked to three farms who have agreed to partner on a cover crop mixture demonstration project and will be hosting field days on their farms to share the results. Innovation. I have spoken with several farmers this week growing new crops like chicory, quinoa, and berseem clover.  Innovation.  I emailed with a new member of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition who is excited to be part of a farmer-based watershed group looking to protect Lake Champlain and thriving agriculture in Vermont. Innovation.

As you walk around your own farms, identify the many ways you are being innovative. As you drive down the road, what are your neighbor farmers doing to be innovative? If you see some fields this year that look a little different – instead of wondering if something went wrong, maybe its just another Vermont farmer trying something new.

Here’s to Innovation!

A grain grower marking out strips in a field to compare tillage practices.
A grain grower marking out strips in a field to compare tillage practices.
Winter rye with hairy vetch used for a green manure before vegetables and ear corn.
Winter rye with hairy vetch used for a green manure before vegetables and ear corn.
Chicory planted with grass, clover and alfalfa in a pasture