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Out Croppings: Important crop news from the field!

Industrial Hemp No Trespassing Sign

Posted: May 1st, 2019 by outcropn

We have been receiving request for the template of our UVM research trial Industrial Hemp No Trespassing signs (PDF template) as well as a JPG file format.

We ordered ours a few years ago from Premier Signs & Graphics at 1651 St. Albans Road, Richford, VT 05476, 802-848-3151. Material options were coroplast, PVC, and maxmetal. We also purchased the u-posts from the same vendor. You can use the template and order them from who you wish.

Addressing Winter Injury in Forage Fields

Posted: April 29th, 2019 by outcropn

AGiven the long and harsh winter, many farmers are seeing winterkill and damage in their forage fields this spring. If you have yet to inspect your fields, now is the time to begin. Grasses and legumes are beginning to grow and signs of damage can be seen more easily seen at this time.

Signs of injury and winterkill include stands that are slow to green up and uneven growth patterns in fields. To diagnose damage in a suspect field, examine the plant roots. This can be done by walking diagonally across the field and digging up shovel full of plants (4-6 inches deep) at regular intervals, about every 4-5 paces. The roots of each plant should be firm and the interior color should be white or cream colored.  If the roots are soft and the interior yellow to brownish in color, it most likely was winter killed.  For alfalfa, the majority of crown buds should be white or pink and firm throughout the bud.  It is important to try and inspect as many plants as possible to determine the percentage of your stand and/or areas of your field that are injured.

For fields moderately affected by winter injury, different management practices than normal will be necessary to keep the stand in production. Consider allowing plants to mature longer before cutting, or in the case of legumes, allowing them to fully bloom before cutting if the damage is more severe. Increasing cutting height, leaving new shoots, and not cutting the stands in the fall will aid in the stand’s recovery and increase production. If alfalfa was lost in a predominately grass stand, it could be managed for grass. If the alfalfa stand was only partially injured (25 to 50%), interseeding with a quick germinating forage, such as orchardgrass or perennial ryegrass, could provide additional production. When dealing with winter injured stands, it is particularly important to adequately fertilize and to control for weed competition.

For fields severely affected by winter injury, such as over 50% killed, you may want to consider replanting. A small grain/field pea mixture or annual ryegrass will be good choices if the forage is needed in early/mid-summer. Corn silage will be the best choice for optimizing full season forage production, but at later dates (mid-June to early July) you may want to consider planting a summer annual. A few options include Sudangrass, sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, and millet. 

More information on managing winter injury in forages can be found in the following resources:

“Evaluating and Managing Forage Stands for Winter Injury” by NWCS, UVM Extension.  https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/media/managing-forage-winter-injury.pdf

“Managing Cereal Grains for Forage” by NWCS, UVM Extension. https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/media/managing-cereal-grains-for-forage.pdf

“Evaluating Hay and Pasture Stands for Winter Injury” by Iowa State University Extension.


Soybean Evaluations in Vermont

Posted: February 14th, 2019 by outcropn

Soybean Evaluations in Vermont

In the face of low milk prices, it is more important than ever for Vermont farmers to take stock of their operations to see where costs can be cut and efficiency increased. One aspect that cannot be overlooked is feed costs. The first step in reducing feed costs is making sure you are producing the highest yield and quality feed on your own farm. Most farmers look to corn silage and perennial grasses to provide the bulk of the ration and purchase additional components as needed to balance the quality and nutritive value. However, small grains, soybeans, and oilseeds (such as canola) can all be grown in this region and present opportunities to lower purchased feed costs.

Although soybean production is largely concentrated in the Midwest U.S., soybeans can be grown in Vermont and even into Canada. The trick is variety selection. Just like corn hybrids, there are tons of soybean varieties out there but some just aren’t’ suited to our climate. Soybeans, are separated into maturity groups ranging from 000-10, where 000 varieties are the earliest maturing. Varieties in groups 00-1 are suitable for most of Vermont although group 2 varieties may perform adequately in the southern portions of the state or in low lying valleys with milder climates. To evaluate commercially available soybean varieties in Vermont, our team has conducted annual variety trials.

In 2018 we had 22 entries from 5 seed companies in our trial conducted in Alburgh at Borderview Research Farm. The varieties ranged in maturity from 0.07 to 2.4. Soybeans were planted on 25-May and harvested on 12-Oct.

Throughout the season we experienced extended periods of hot, dry weather with only about 60% of our normal accumulation of rain. These dry conditions likely impacted pest and disease populations as little pressure from these was observed. Despite drought conditions throughout much of the season, the soybeans yielded well with an average yield of 3659 lbs ac-1 or 61.0 bu ac-1, approximately the same as in our 2017 trial. The six highest yielding varieties were S11XT78, S09RY62, 5B241R2, S18XT38, SG 1863, 5N211R2, and SG 1776. All these varieties produced over 3700 lbs ac-1. However, the range in yields was dramatic with the lowest yielding variety, CM16-6058, producing less than half the yield of the top yielding variety at only 2,144 lbs ac-1 or 35.7 bu ac-1 (Figure 2). All varieties produced soybeans with similar test weight which averaged 54.3 lbs per bushel for the trial. All varieties produced soybeans with test weight below the industry standard of 60 lbs per bushel. This was likely due to lack of moisture throughout the season, especially during seed fill. These differences highlight the importance of careful varietal selection and monitoring to identify varieties that perform well in a variety of conditions on your farm. A full report from this trial can be found at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/2018-Soybean-Variety-Trial-ReportFinal.pdf

Grass-fed dairy production webinars in December

Posted: November 28th, 2018 by outcropn

There are 2 upcoming (free) webinars on grass-fed dairy production on December 11 and 12th hosted by eOrganic. Click on the links below to register to attend.


On the 11th, Kathy Sodor will speak on the use of molasses as an energy source



On the 12th, Heather Darby and Sarah Flack will speak on past research and upcoming the new research about to begin on grass-fed dairy production.


2018 Field Season Research Reports

Posted: November 21st, 2018 by outcropn

We are working on our 2018 Research Reports and will post them as they are completed.

View our website at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/research to see new reports.

We have currently posted our Long and Short Season Corn Silage Performance Trial summaries as well as the New York and Vermont Corn Silage Hybrid Trials.

Expanded grass-fed dairy production research project

Posted: November 15th, 2018 by outcropn

Expanded grass-fed dairy production research project to start this fall thanks to funding from USDA

Thanks to new grant funding, current research on grass fed dairy production will be expanded to a larger geographic region and scope, addressing more of the key issues in grass-fed dairy production. This new multi-year research project, funded by USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), is titled Advancing Grass-Fed Dairy: A Whole Systems Approach to Enhancing Productivity, Quality, and Farm Viability in the US (Project no. 2018-02802).

The project, led by Dr. Heather Darby at the University of Vermont, assembles a team of farmers, consultants and researchers from several states (full list provided at end). This multi-disciplinary research team hopes to identify critical components of grass-fed dairy management that support high quality milk production, herd health, environmental health, and farm economic viability while contributing to a vibrant grass-fed dairy market that meets the needs and preferences of consumers. If you are a grass-fed dairy producer, look out for information in the mail on the project, or contact one of us if you’d like to participate.

This new project builds on recent research results on grass-fed dairy farming, as well as questions from both farmers and researchers. The project goal is to continue to meet the need for educational resources and relevant research to support farmers, service providers, and the rapidly growing grass-fed industry overall.

During the past 2 years of research, farmers and researchers in the Northeast have been documenting basic production benchmarks and practices that may contribute to successful grass-fed dairy systems. In the fall of 2016, a survey of all grass-fed dairy producers in the U.S. (140 at that time) was conducted from which 83 farmers anonymously shared data about their production practices (thank you!). This not only helped establish the first set of production benchmarks for grass-fed dairy, it also helped the collaborators better understand what additional research would be most helpful to farmers. A smaller group of 22 farms were then enrolled in a 2-year research project in which they shared data each month, and receive data reports back regularly.

This new project will begin with another survey of all grass-fed dairies in the U.S. (now estimated 300-400). If you are a grass-fed dairy producer, keep an eye out for the survey! If you receive a survey request, we hope you will fill it out and return it to us. Also, if you would like to participate in further phases of this project or want more information, please contact one of our project team. This initial part of the project will serve two purposes: 1) to get a better measure of the production practices on grass-fed dairy farms throughout the US, and 2) inform farmers about the project, and identify farmers who would be interested in participating further in this four-year project.

The new OREI project will include:

  • Continued collection of information on production practices
  • Information on economics and the cost of production data of grass-fed milk
  • In-depth research and modeling on how the nutrient cycling and soil health differs in grass-fed systems without grain nutrients
  • Research on MUN (milk urea nitrogen) and grass-fed dairy rations
  • Research on high energy forages and utilization in grass-fed dairy rations
  • Research on consumer preferences, market demands and potential for grass-fed market growth and expansion
  • Expanded educational and networking opportunities for farmers, processors and technical service providers

For more information about this project contact Heather Darby at heather.darby@uvm.edu or 802-524-6501, Sarah Flack at sarahflackconsulting@gmail.com or 802-309-3714, or Sara Ziegler at sara.ziegler@uvm.edu or 802-524-6501.

Project Team Members
Dr. Heather Darby, Professor of Agronomy, University of Vermont Extension
Brent Beidler, Farmer Advisor, Randolph VT
André F. Brito, Associate Professor Organic Dairy, University of New Hampshire
Dr. Sidney Bosworth, Professor of Agronomy, University of Vermont Extension
Dr. Roy Desrochers, Sensory Practice Leader, Tufts University Sensory and Science Center
Sarah Flack, Grazing Livestock Specialist, Flack Consulting, Enosburg Vermont
Dr. Sabrina Greenwood, Assistant Professor of Animal Science, University of Vermont
Dr. Kathy Soder, Animal Scientist, USDA-ARS-Pasture Systems and Watershed Management
Research Unit
Albert Robbat, Jr., Director, Tufts University Sensory and Science Center, Associate Professor of
Sara Ziegler, Crop and Soil Coordinator, University of Vermont Extension

Drainage and Doughnuts – Tile Drainage Webinar Series

Posted: October 16th, 2018 by outcropn

Through conversations, workshops, and a recent survey, we know that farmers are highly motivated to understand and implement best management practices on fields with subsurface drainage tiles so that both environmental and production risks can be minimized.  The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program is offering a tile drainage webinar series to provide you with the following:

  • Learn about best management practices to use on tile acreages.
  • Increase knowledge on how farmland with subsurface tile drainage may affect water quality.
  • Increase knowledge about how Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) affect the use of subsurface tile drainage.
  • Learn about end-of-tile treatments.

Each webinar will be from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. — just a quick break before heading back out to the barn, field, or computer. Learn about tile drainage by attending one or all of the webinars. Attend all five webinars and enjoy a doughnut on us! Just go to go.uvm.edu/drainageanddoughnuts on each webinar date.

 Dates, topics, and speakers include:

Wed, Oct 24, Introduction to Tile Drainage – Joshua Faulkner, UVM, and Results from Tile Drainage and Conservation Survey – Heather Darby, UVM

Fri, Oct 26, Tile Drainage and Management in Wisconsin – Matt Ruark, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Wed, Oct 31, Tile Drainage and Management in New York – end of tile treatment, Eric Young, USDA ARS

Fri, Nov 2, Tile Drainage and Management in Ohio, Lindsay Pease, UMN and USDA ARS

Thu, Nov 8, Update on RAPs and tile drain rule amendment, Ryan Patch, VAAFM

For more information, please contact Susan Brouillette, susan.brouillette@uvm.edu or Heather Darby, heather.darby@uvm.edu or by phone 802.524.6501.


Webinar on pasture and forage crop insurance program

Posted: September 24th, 2018 by outcropn

Webinar on pasture and forage crop insurance program

Wednesday, September 26, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Link to register: https://maine.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FU72mZlDR_GGeIwiaJr2iA


Many farmers have experienced reduced hay yields and diminished pasture regrowth due to drier-than-normal weather conditions. The Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) Rainfall Index crop insurance program is an option that may help offset the costs associated with losses due to lack of precipitation on forage acreage.

An online webinar is scheduled for September 26, from 12 noon–1 p.m. for those who want to learn more about the program before the November 15 enrollment deadline.

The webinar will include an overview of the PRF program, demonstration of a tool that shows how to find your farm location on the grid, historical precipitation by grid location, and how to use the on-line tool to help make coverage decisions, plus a farmer’s perspective on the program. Speakers include University of Maine Cooperative Extension Crop Insurance Educator Erin Roche, Cornell Cooperative Extension agricultural educator Keith Severson, and an interview with Leon Ripley, farmer and owner of Maple Corner Farm, Granville, Massachusetts.

The program is free; registration is required.  Register online (link is above).  1.0 CEU’s will be offered after completion of the webinar. For more information contact Erin Roche, 207-949-2940, erin.roche@maine.edu.

Sponsors include University of Maine Cooperative Extension, University of Massachusetts Extension, University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, and Cornell University Cooperative Extension with funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency.

– – 

Contact information for any additional questions –
Jake Jacobs
Crop Insurance Education Coordinator
Department of Community Development and Applied Economics
208 Morrill Hall, University of Vermont

146 University Place, Burlington, VT 05405
Message Phone Line 802-656-7356
Fax 802-656-1423
Email:  jake.jacobs@uvm.edu

Website: http://go.uvm.edu/ag-risk



Grass Fed Dairy Production on-farm field day

Posted: September 13th, 2018 by outcropn

Join us at The Larson Farm to hear about Rich and Cynthia Larsons’ experiences with all grass fed dairy production. Established in 1977, The Larson Farm dairy herd is 100% grass fed, all A2A2 genetics, and is certified organic and also certified 100% grass fed by PCO.  They sell grass fed beef, raw milk and also a line of pasteurized dairy products made on farm at the new creamery.

During this workshop you will learn about grass-fed dairy production, pasture management, fertility management and on-farm processing of high quality dairy products. Heather Darby, UVM Extension and Sarah Flack, Flack Consulting will join the Larsons in sharing their dairy farming system and experiences with you!

Cost: $20 (includes lunch). Register online by 9/17/18: www.regonline.com/grassfeddairyproduction or call 802-524-6501 ext. 432





No-Till Intensive Trainings for Agricultural Service Providers (ASPs)

Posted: September 6th, 2018 by outcropn

The University of Vermont Extension, in conjunction with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, is offering a free No-Till Intensive Training for Agricultural Service Providers (ASPs)! Deadline to sign up is October 15, 2018.

The No-Till Intensive Training will include three parts:
1. Online Trainings – 8 CCA credits, 1 Pesticide credit
 A webinar series will host a farmer, researcher, or other expert practitioner. The online classes will discuss common obstacles to implementing a successful no-till program, address these issues through field proven technical knowledge, and follow a training plan that will best enable the ASP to support the farmers in the no-till practice transition. The webinars are scheduled to meet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every other Monday starting on November 5, 2018 and ending on February 18, 2019.

2. No-Till & Cover Crop Symposium – 5 CCA credits per event
 Participating ASPs will have the opportunity to attend both the 2019 and 2020 symposiums at no cost to them! Next year’s event is scheduled for February 28, 2019 in Burlington, Vermont.

3. In-Field Intensive Training – 6 CCA credits per training
 Four (4) in-field intensive trainings will be offered during Summer/Fall 2019. Participating ASPs are required to attend at least one. The in-field intensives will be held in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. They will be hosted by local collaborating farms that have incorporated no-till into their crop management systems. These hands-on workshops will foster a stronger working knowledge of no-till equipment, soil health, fertility, and technology used to make no-till systems successful.

Enrolled ASPs must commit to attend ALL webinar trainings and ONE in-field intensive training.

To register, go to https://no-till-intensive-trainings.eventbrite.com. Or contact Catherine Davidson at (802) 524-6501, ext. 445, with registration and/or training related questions. Please request a disability-related accommodation upon registering if needed.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under sub-award number LNE18-149.

Contact Us ©2010 The University of Vermont – Burlington, VT 05405 – (802) 656-3131
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