UVM Extension is offering a two-part course for anyone who applies manure to understand the rules and regulations with a goal of protecting the environment and conserving nutrients. The course will be offered from 10 am to 3 pm on both January 10 and 17 at the American Legion in St. Albans. There is no fee for farm owners, custom operators, or farm employees to attend; all others including farm service providers pay $60. For more information, see the program brochure.
Out Croppings: Important crop news from the field!
Posted: December 19th, 2011 by outcropn
Posted: September 19th, 2011 by outcropn
Tropical storm Irene has caused some of the most massive flood damage to crops in over fifty years. Many crop fields were completely destroyed, while others were left with varying degrees of damage. Before making any decisions about your fields, you should document and report any crop damage to your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA FSA) office, your crop insurance agent and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. You are strongly encouraged to take ‘time-dated’ photos of any damage. Such information may be critical in federal emergency determinations and your eligibility for these programs.
Click on the link below for the best management guidelines for harvesting, storing, and feeding flooded field and forage crops including corn, hay crops and pasture.
Posted: September 12th, 2011 by outcropn
Grain Storage and Processing
Jack and Anne Lazor farm in Westfield, VT, in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom, where they produce delicious yogurt from their Jersey cows. Jack is one of Vermont’s pioneer grain growers—he started growing grains to feed his family and neighbors, as well as the herd almost 30 years ago. At Butterworks, they grow over 150 acres of corn, oats, barley, peas, soybeans, spelt, rye, sunflowers, dry beans, and wheat for animal and human consumption.
This on-farm workshop will focus on grain topics related to grain storage, cleaning, drying, and processing value added products. Jack and Brent Beidler, of Beidler Family Farm, will also share their experiences from a trip earlier this summer to visit small scale grain farmers and processors in Ohio.
The workshop fee is $15.00 per person.
Lunch will be provided by the NOFA pizza oven.
For more information or to register by Sept. 14th, please contact Heather Darby or Susan Monahan;
(802) 524-6501 heather.darby[at]uvm.edu or susan.monahan[at]uvm.edu
If you require a disability related accommodation to participate in this program, please let our office know by Sept. 14th so we may assist you.
From the south, travel north on Route 100. Turn left on Route 58, travel for 1.9 miles. Turn right on to Buck Hill Rd, travel for 2.2 miles, turn right on Trumpass Rd. The farm will be on your left.
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Posted: September 2nd, 2011 by outcropn
Our hearts go out to each and every farm family dealing with the aftermath of Irene. Please let us know how we can best help!
For information on forage crops–including corn, hay and pasture–take a look at Recent Rain Creates Stress on Crops.
It’s important to contact support services as soon as you can to report crop injury and losses. We are all here to help you with this so please do contact us. The local USDA offices — both FSA and NRCS — are helping farmers fill out paperwork, and our Risk Management folks suggest to contact your Crop Insurance Agent as soon as possible. Here is an info sheet with some helpful suggestions: http://www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/BE-FAMILIAR-WITH-CROP-DAMAGE-2.pdf.
Posted: August 5th, 2011 by outcropn
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
11:00 am- 3:00 pm
2465 Gore Rd, Highgate Center, VT
The Choiniere family farm has been in operation since 1945. Currently they are milking 75 organic cows and have 40 replacement cows. The farm began organic production in 2005. The farm has a total of 250 acres with 75 acres being pasture for their 115 cows. Owner and operator Guy Choiniere will talk about grain production and innovative ways to integrate small grains into a dairy ration.
The farm has worked with UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Pasture Program through several NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants to explore using bedded pack compost to improve pastures and extend the grazing season, as well as address pasture compaction through mechanical subsoiling.
Guy is using a Keyline plow and growing tillage radishes to address pasture compaction. Through collaborations with partners like UVM Extension, NRCS and the Pasture Program, Guy has been able to install many water quality improvement practices to enhance the Rock River that divides his farm as well as to enhance his dairy operation.
Cost: $15 per person: Lunch will be provided by the NOFA pizza oven.
To register contact Heather Darby or Chantel Cline by August 5th
Phone: 802-524-6501 or Email: heather.darby[at]uvm.edu or chantel.cline[at]uvm.edu
From Interstate 89, take exit 20 head northeast on VT-207 N/Highgate Rd toward Old Highgate Rd Turn right onto VT-
207 N/VT-78 E Turn right onto VT-207 N/VT-78 E Slight left onto VT-207 N/Gore Rd Destination will be on the left 2.5 miles from
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Posted: July 12th, 2011 by outcropn
Location: Borderview Farm, 46 Line Rd, Alburgh, VT
Date: Thursday, August 4, 2011
Time: 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
This year’s theme is Cultivating a Healthy Farm! From the ground up, we will highlight healthy soils, healthy crops and healthy people. Come and see over 2,000 research plots focusing on reduced tillage and cover crops, long term cropping systems and integrated pest management, as well as crop-specific research focusing on different annual forage systems, wheat, barley, oats, flax, oilseed crops and hops.
Our organic research hopyard is growing right before our eyes! Highlights will include weed control, mulches, time-saving irrigation methods, pest management, fertility management, and plans for a hop harvester, oast and baler. For the brewing enthusiasts, Christian and Andrea Stanley from Valley Malt will teach us the process of malting grains, featuring their prototype malter. Enjoy some malted ice cream from island homemade ice cream!
New this year, a health and wellness tent. We have a new addition to the field day this year–a farmer wellness tent that will include activities to improve health and reduce stress (think massage!) as well as local health care and farm safety providers to answer your individual questions.
Rick Kersbergen a nutritionist from University of Maine Extension will talk about enhancing forage rations with small grains. Learn from the results of the mini silo experiment testing that is evaluating the forage quality enhanced by blending small grains into stored feed such as haylage.
Much of our research this year is focused on farming for a healthy lake. Learn about our cover cropping research from planting dates and seeding rate to termination methods. Hear from farmers who have participated in our reduced tillage planter clinic, and learn how they have modified their planters. See a demonstration of new equipment such as a no-till grain drill and strip tillage implements.
Learn how to convert a tractor to run on straight vegetable oil or biofuel, but not before you see the various oilseed crop research trials! Tour the sunflower variety trial, seeding rate by nitrogen rate study, winter and spring canola variety trials and planting date studies as well as soybeans grown for biofuels. Don’t forget to watch our oilseed press demonstration as well as learn how to pelletize oilseed meal into grain.
Of course we have something for bakers and grain growers! Tour the several winter and spring wheat and barley, oats, and flax trials, all geared towards food grade products such as flour, oatmeal, and malt!
The program is free of charge for farmers.
All others, $20 per person. (CCA credits available)
Lunch will be provided featuring local products. Please RSVP by July 29 to 802-524-6501 or email
Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should
contact Elaine Burnor at 802-524-6501 or 800-639-2130 by July 28, 2011.
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From Alburgh: Take Rt. 2 West. Just after the VT Welcome Center, turn right onto Rt. 225 (Border Rd.) 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 Rd.) that goes west along the border. Borderview Farm is the first farm on the left. Look for signs for the Field Day!
Posted: June 13th, 2011 by outcropn
Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension Agronomist
Recent intense rainfall events have caused flooding, ponding, and soil saturation in many of our corn and hay fields. What are the prospects for these crops?
Corn planted nearly two weeks ago around the state is just now beginning to emerge and doing so very erratically. The cause of the problems are multiple and include dense soil surface crusts restricting coleoptile emergence, seed rots, seedling blight, stress from saturated soils, and some insect damage. To determine seed health, dig up many seeds in the field and determine condition of the seed. A soft mushy seed is a sign of death. If the corn has started to germinate, check to see if the shoot is healthy and not easily detached. In addition, severe crusting has added to the problem. Corn emergence will be challenging when a dense surface crust sets. The resistance of a crust to corn penetration often results in corkscrewed corn elongation below the surface and eventual leafing out underground. Monitor fields and be prepared to use a rotary hoe (or some other implement) to break the crust and aid emergence. You can also take the planter back to the field and run them shallowly over the existing furrow to break the crust. Of course, the challenge with this strategy is to balance the benefit of breaking the crust while avoiding damage to the emerging seedlings. A side benefit to breaking this crust is improved aeration for the crop.
Flooded or ponded soil creates other risks for corn that has already emerged. Soil oxygen becomes depleted after about 48 hours of soil saturation. Without oxygen, corn cannot perform critical life functions (i.e. nutrient uptake, root growth inhibited). Since the growing point of corn at this stage is still below ground it is directly subject to the stress of oxygen depleted conditions. The likelihood of crop injury is less where the flooded and ponded conditions last less than 24 hours. To confirm plant survival, check the color of the growing point and look for new leaf growth 4 to 7 days (with 70 degree weather) after the water drains from the field. Healthy growing points will be firm and yellowish-white, not mushy and discolored.
Many growers are faced with the challenge of accurately assessing the extent and health of surviving stands in order to make a reasoned replant decision. The challenge lies in the fact that germination and emergence have been so very slow in response to the dramatic cooling down of soils that occurred with the arrival of the rains. Remember that slow germination and emergence by itself does not automatically translate to a failed stand. IF (note the emphasis on “if”) such delayed seedlings are otherwise healthy, they will likely develop into normal plants. The bottom line is that until emergence is complete, it is nearly impossible to accurately estimate effective plant populations across entire fields. With the current warming trend, growers should be in a better position by the end of this week to make these important stand assessments. Remember that only portions of the field may need to be replanted. Compare this population to the original target population. If you are in a situation where corn needs to be replanted remember to consider a shorter season hybrid.
Hay & Pasture Fields
Forage plants (other than perhaps wet site-tolerant reed canary grass) can survive for several weeks in saturated soils, but the lack of oxygen in the root zone will adversely affect their growth. These plants do not take up soil nutrients normally, an increasing part of the root system deteriorates, and legumes cease ‘fixing” nitrogen. They appear stunted and yellowish-green in color. If the soils drain quickly, plants begin to recover. Flooded forages contain fine silt, fungus spores, bacteria that are bad for you and your animal health. The forage that has been flooded with silt and debris can cause health problems, production problems, and/or reproduction problems in livestock. To be safe, avoid making silage out of it. However, if you do, keep it separate from the rest of your unflooded silage. It may spoil and it could contaminate adjacent silage. If you ensile these flooded crops, you may find that once the silo is opened, they spoil faster than other silage. Generally, you should avoid feeding this material if possible. However, if you haven’t already done it, try to get this standing material off the field as soon as possible to encourage regrowth. If hay fields were flooded remember to wear a dust mask when harvesting. Grazing animals can be exposed to clostridial organisms that can lead to some serious diseases. The safest approach would be to clip the contaminated pastures and then wait to graze the regrowth. But don’t graze it too closely – avoid letting your livestock get down into the old dead material. Watch your livestock closely. If any of you animals appear sick, call your vet immediately.
If you have any questions please contact Heather Darby @ 524-6501 or heather.darby[at]uvm.edu
Posted: June 3rd, 2011 by outcropn
Having had the wettest spring on record there are many fields that still remain unplanted. Many farmers are asking about alternative forage options to secure enough feed for the year. Although prime time to plant corn has passed there are still options available to secure high quality forage for the winter months. Read more to learn about options for late season forage production.
Posted: May 9th, 2011 by outcropn
by Dr. Heather Darby UVM Extension Agronomist
Many farmers have reported alfalfa fields that have been slow to green-up this spring. Having had a harsh winter it is highly likely that some forage fields have suffered from winter injury. This article will present some options for managing and enhancing winter injured alfalfa stands.
What causes winter injury? There are many factors that can contribute to winterkill such as deficient snow cover, variety, cutting management, fall soil moisture, stand age, low soil fertility, and low soil pH. Alfalfa prepares itself for the winter months once temperatures drop below 40 degrees F. During this time the plant prepares itself to tolerate freezing temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees F. When temperatures drop below this threshold the water in the plant cells freeze and lead to further cell damage, dehydration and eventually can lead to plant death. Winter injury can also be caused by ice sheeting that prevents air exchange to the alfalfa crowns. One way to reduce damage from ice sheeting is the recommended practice of leaving 6 to 8 inches of stubble in the fall. This will also increase the chances “catching” snow, which acts as an insulator.
How to diagnose winter injury? The most obvious sign of winter injury are stands that are slow to green up. If other fields in your area are starting to grow and yours are still brown those stands should be checked for injury or death. In addition to slow green up, fields with uneven growth patterns may also indicate damage. The best way to diagnose damage is by examining the plant roots in a suspect field. To do this walk diagonally across a field and at regular intervals, dig up a shovel full of plants (4 to 6 inches deep) and examine their roots. 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 wintered killed. Try and inspect as many plants as possible to determine the percentage of your stand and/or areas of your field that are injured.
Options for fields moderately affected by winter injury
Winter injured stands will require different management than healthy stands if they are to stay in production. If winter injury is evident consider the following.
- Allow alfalfa plants to mature longer before cutting. This will help the plants rebuild needed energy for future production. For severely impacted stands, allow plants to go to full bloom before taking a first cut and to early flower for following harvests.
- Increasing the cutting height may also help stands recover. New shoots will be developing at the base of the injured plants and it is important to not remove these shoots as it will result in further detriment.
- Lastly do not cut winter injured stands late in the fall this will allow them to build up more reserves before winter.
If a significant loss of alfalfa was seen in a predominantly grass stand, then you could manage it for grass. This will work best if the grass species are predominated by tall growing species such as reed canarygrass, orchardgrass or timothy. If the grass is less than 10 inches tall, it may still be economical to apply 50 pounds of N per acre to boost yield and protein.
If the alfalfa stand was only partially injured (25 to 50 %) interseeding with quick germinating forage with a no-till drill could provide additional production. Species that could be considered for interseeding include orchardgrass (4-6 lbs/acre) perennial ryegrass (5-6 lbs/acre), or clover (4 lbs/acre). Remember that alfalfa should not be reseeded back into the field unless the stand is only a year old. Autotoxicity issues will keep the newly seeded alfalfa from growing. Perennial ryegrass should be considered a short term option since it does not overwinter well in our climate.
Options for fields severely affected by winter injury
If your stand was over 50 % killed, you may want to consider replanting. Depending on your needs, there are several forage choices. A small grain/field pea mixture will be the best choice if the forage is needed in early/mid summer. Early planted small grains (60 lb/acre) such as oats, barley, or triticale with the addition of field peas (50 lb/acre) will be ready for harvest between late June and mid July. Research from the University of Vermont has reported dry matter yields between 2.5 and 3.0 t/acre.
Corn silage will be the best choice for optimizing full season forage production. If corn silage is planted by the end of June it will normally out yield most other forages however you risk lower quality forage. At these later dates (mid-June to early July) you may want to consider planting a summer annual. A few options include sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and millets. The sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and sudangrass should be seeded at 50 lb/acre, while forage millets are planted at 20 lb/acre. These forages should be harvested when they reach approximately 30 inches. It is important to note that these crops need high temperatures to yield well and may not be the best choice if we are experiencing average to cool temperatures. Studies conducted at the University of Vermont have reported dry matter yields between 4 and 6 t/acre.
Each potential forage option listed above has advantages and disadvantages. How you decide to manage your winter injured fields will depend on the required forage yields and quality for your farm.
For more information on how to manage winter injured alfalfa fields please feel free to contact Dr. Heather Darby at 524-6501 or heather.darby[at]uvm.edu.
Posted: May 9th, 2011 by outcropn
Excessive rainfall and flooding in Vermont during April could create locations where the prevented planting provisions of crop insurance policies may apply. Follow this link for a helpful fact sheet;Prevented Planting Insurance Provisions: Flood, which highlights the flood or excessive moisture prevented planting provisions for producers covered by crop insurance. Because conditions vary significantly between geographic areas, loss determinations are based on each producer’s individual circumstances. It is very important to contact your crop insurance agent with any questions. It is necessary to report a prevented planting loss. Good record keeping and documentation is key to receiving prevented planting payments. Producers should work with their approved insurance provider to determine the documentation needed for their specific prevented planting claim. In addition, when filing acreage reports, reporting all acres of prevented planting is essential in order to receive full credit for the crop.