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Out Croppings: Important crop news from the field!

Start the New Year with the VT Organic Dairy Producer Workshop

Posted: December 16th, 2010 by outcropn

028Organic dairy producers will learn about animal nutrition, herd health considerations, the latest agronomic research, and more at a day-long workshop on Jan. 13.

The Vermont Organic Dairy Producer Workshop will be held at the Red Schoolhouse on the Vermont Technical College (VTC) campus in Randolph Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is due by Jan. 7. The fee is $20 per person and covers lunch and materials. To register, send a check, made payable to University of Vermont Extension, to Organic Dairy Workshop, UVM Extension, 278 S. Main St., Ste. 2, St. Albans, VT 05478. If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please call 524-6501 or (800) 639-2130 by Jan. 7. For more information, please see the workshop brochure at http://bit.ly/gRzPWR.

The workshop will start with a presentation by Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension field crops and nutrient management specialist, who will describe results of the latest research conducted by her team, including organic forage studies, grains trials, and other projects. Dr. Kathy Soder, an animal scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in Pennsylvania, will discuss developing low and no grain feed strategies that complement high quality homegrown forage production. She also will describe the effect of plant species diversity on intake, productivity, and grazing behavior.

A panel of veterinarians–Drs. William Barry of Brookfield, VTC’s Chris Dutton, and Hubert Karreman of Penn Dutch Cow Care, Lancaster, Pa.–will address herd health questions posed by participants. In addition, the workshop will include a live broadcast by Dr. Charles Benbrook on the Shades of Green Calculator, a tool that helps estimate environmental, animal health, production, and economic impacts of different dairy management practices. He also will highlight findings of a recent study of farms that have used the calculator. Benbrook, chief scientist with The Organic Center, a national organization providing scientific studies on organic farming, is currently an adjunct professor at Washington State University.

The workshop is sponsored by UVM Extension; the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Organic Valley, a Wisconsin-based organic farm cooperative; the USDA Risk Management Agency; Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education; and eOrganic, a web-based organic agriculture resource.

Hops 101 and 201

Posted: October 1st, 2010 by outcropn

Hi Folks,

I sent out an email alerting readers to scholarships available for Gorst Valley Hops’s Hops 101 and 201 in Cooperstown, NY last week, only to be contacted by numerous people saying that they hadn’t received the email.  I’m not sure what happened in the ether of cyberspace, but allow me to reiterate here:  There are scholarships available for the workshop, please contact me if you are interested.  Also, if you do not receive the occasional email from me concerning UVM Extension’s latest work with hops, and would like to be included on that list, shoot me an email, and I’ll add you.  No spam, I promise.

Hope to see you there,

Rosalie

Northern Corn Leaf Blight

Posted: September 23rd, 2010 by outcropn

Dr. Heather Darby, Agronomic Specialist, UVM Extension

Once again, I have seen increased Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NLB) pressure in our area.  I have seen severe damage in the river valleys where dense fog and heavy dews are common.  Northern leaf blight is a fungal disease found in humid climates wherever corn is grown. The disease thrives when relatively cool summer temperatures coincide with high humidity and available moisture.  The number of NLB outbreaks has increased considerably over the past 5 years.  Corn silage yield and quality losses from this disease can be significant.  Therefore it is important for us to gain a better understanding of the disease cycle, symptoms, and management practices that can be employed to reduce the impact of NLB on the corn crop.

nlblifecycle

Disease Cycle

Northern corn leaf blight is caused by the fungus Exserohilum turcicu.  It overwinters as mycelia and conidia in diseased corn stalks (Figure 1).  In the spring and early summer, spores are produced on this crop residue when environmental conditions are favorable. Primary infections occur when spores are spread by rain splash and air currents to the leaves of new crop plants.  Infection will occur if free water is present on the leaf surface for 6 to 18 hours and temperatures are 65 to 80F.
Secondary infections occur readily from plant to plant, and even from field to field.  Infections generally begin on lower leaves first and then progress up the plant. Heavy dews, frequent light showers, high humidity, and moderate temperatures favor the spread of the disease.
nlblesions

Disease Symptoms

Within 2 weeks of infection grey elliptical lesions begin to develop on the leaves.  Over time the cigar shaped lesions become tan as they enlarge (Figure 2).  Under moist conditions, the lesions produce dark gray spores on the lower leaf surface. As many lesions enlarge and coalesce, entire leaves or leaf areas may be covered.
It is obvious that the more leaf area that becomes damaged from this disease the more yield and quality losses that maybe incurred. Generally, the damage on the plants is seen after silking, however, there have been earlier infections reported in the moist valley regions.

nlbresistance

Disease Management

One of the most effective means of managing NLB is selecting resistant corn hybrids (Figure 3).  Since we have not recognized this disease as a major threat focus on resistant hybrid selection has not been a priority. Hybrids with above average resistance to NLB should be planted.  Work with your corn seed representative to select hybrids that meet these criteria.
Since corn residues harbor the disease, all fields that are grown for grain may be at the greatest risk for disease infection.  In areas where NLB problems have occurred in recent years, reducing any previous corn residue is important to minimize disease inoculum and its effects. Corn residue can be reduced through several practices including crop rotation and moldboard plowing.  Remember that this disease has been seen primarily in continuous corn silage fields in Vermont.  Therefore, any amount of residue will increase the risk of this disease.
Although there are fungicides available to protect the corn from this disease they are generally not considered cost effective in corn silage systems. If you suspect that your corn has Northern Corn Leaf Blight please report the incidence to UVM Extension Agronomists Heather Darby.  For more information please contact Heather Darby at (802) 524-6501 or email.

Cereal Grain Testing Comes to the Green Mountains

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 by outcropn

University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Team’s Grain Quality Laboratory is up and running!  The team headed up by Heather Darby, received funding through the Castanea Foundation located in Montpelier, Vermont and generous private donations to purchase a sophisticated machine to test the Falling Number of wheat, an internationally standardized method for sprout damage detection.  The Falling Number System measures the alpha-amylase enzyme activity in grains and flour to detect sprout damage, optimize flour enzyme activity and guarantee soundness of traded grain. Alpha-amylase activity is crucial for final product quality of bread, pasta, noodles and malt.

The lab is also equipped with near-infrared technology for protein analysis and employs a method to test for deoxynivalenol (DON) also known as vomitoxin.  Occurrences of this vomitoxin in wheat at or above 1 ppm are considered unsafe for human consumption by the FDA.  Contamination of wheat with DON is directly related to the incidence of Fusarium head blight and strongly associated with relative moisture and timing of rainfall at flowering.

Our lab is currently accepting samples and will continue to do so until December 1, 2010.  Click here to download a Cereal Grain Test Submission Form.  In order to get results that accurately reflect your product, be sure to employ good sampling techniques.  Remember the results are only as good as the sample submitted! For more information on testing the quality of your grains, contact UVM Extension’s Crops and Soils Team.

Upcoming Forage Field Day in Highgate, VT

Posted: August 26th, 2010 by outcropn

Forage Field Day hosted by G. Boucher Fertilizer Inc.

Friday September 3, 2010 from 11:00am-3:00pm.

Come view the perennial forage test plots at the Boucher Farm. Rod Porter from King’s Agriseeds will be available to answer questions on new forage varieties and mixes.

It’s getting near time to chop!

Come learn how to determine corn moisture from a representative from Mycogen Seed Company using the corn burn down method.

For More Information contact Gemma Boucher.

802-868-3939

For directions click on the link:
View Larger Map

Crops & Soils Field Day

Posted: July 12th, 2010 by outcropn

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Borderview Farm

46 Line Rd, Alburgh, VT

Click here to download a pdf version of the brochure.

fieldday This year’s theme is Agricultural Innovations! Throughout the day we will highlight our many research projects that focus on sustainable cropping systems, fertility management, soil health, and integrated pest management, as well as crop-specific research focusing on wheat, barley, sunflowers, canola, soybeans, hops, and different forage systems.

Field Day Highlights

  • There is a high demand for local grains in Vermont, and we will be featuring an oat huller. We will also be demonstrating our new Falling Number Machine, which is used to test the quality of grains such as wheat and barley.  Randy George from Red Hen Bakery will be on hand to discuss flour quality and bread baking with local grains.
  • A research hopyard has been constructed at Borderview Farm, and we will be showcasing our first year growth.  Mark Magiera, brewmaster for Bobcat Café, will discuss hops and grains from a brewer’s perspective.
  • An equipment exposition will also take place, featuring a strip-till planter, a zone-till planter, a narrow- and wide-row grain drill, a Schmotzer narrow-row cultivator, a roller-crimper, a tineweeder, and an Aerway.
  • Come see biodiesel production from growing to processing! See oilseed crop trials, including canola, sunflower, and soybeans, and watch homegrown oil be converted into biodiesel! Also featuring warm season grasses for biomass energy.
  • Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of various cover crop termination methods, such as herbicides, plow-down, or using a roller-crimper.
  • Crop rotation trials and double crop systems, including winter and spring small grain trials.  Information on yield, quality, seeding rates, and using small grains for grazing, forage, or grain/straw production.
  • Information on annual and perennial forage crops, including many corn research trials evaluating organic and conventional varieties, seeding rates, maturity dates, and new technologies.

Free of charge for farmers! All others* pay $15 per person at door. CCA credits will be available. Please RSVP by July 30 to Heather Darby @ 802-524-6501 A BBQ lunch featuring local foods will be provided. * Scholarships are available to Extension, USDA, and non-profit personnel. Contact Deb Heleba at  for more information. Directions

View Larger Map 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!

Innovations in Growing Grains

Posted: July 9th, 2010 by outcropn

Wednesday, July 28 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Butterworks Farm
Westfield, VT
Click here for a PDF version of this brochure
Field Day Highlights:

Learn how to Grow and Process Grains. Jack Lazor will provide a tour of his grain fields and   describe production techniques. We will learn about growing flax, wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and sunflowers. Take a tour of the Butterworks grain storage and processing facilities. See the new oat hulling machine.

Hear about current research in grain. Dr. Heather Darby and Erica Cummings from UVM will discuss research projects in the areas of variety selection, fertility management, and seeding rates.
View and learn about 19 heritage spring wheat varieties! UVM Extension and Butterworks have been evaluating heritage wheat varieties for yield and quality for baking. Three of these varieties were developed in Vermont by Dr. Cyrus Pringle in the late 1800s.
Learn about on-farm plant breeding from Dr. Steve Jones of Washington State University.  Dr.  Jones is a wheat breeder who focuses on improving wheat varieties for traditional and organic systems. Dr. Jones uses heritage and wild species as sources of genes for disease resistance, end-use quality and adaptability. Dr. Jones has been working with local farmers and UVM Extension to develop wheat varieties that fit our growing region.
Learn from John Melquist from TruckenBoard Bakery how to bake bread with locally grown wheat. John has been baking sourdough breads with flour milled at the Lazor farm for 5 years. He will discuss the challenges and advantages to baking with locally grown wheat. Come and sample bread baked from heirloom and modern wheat.
The workshop fee is $10.00 per person   Lunch will be provided by the NOFA pizza oven

For more information or to register by July 25,  please contact: Heather Darby or Erica  Cummings
Phone: 802-524-6501 or Email: heather.darby@uvm.edu or erica.cummings@uvm.edu

*If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please let our office know by July 15 so we may assist you.

Directions: At the junction of Route 100 and 58 in Lowell, take a left and head west on Route 58.  You will pass through the village of Lowell and proceed for about 2 miles. You will pass between a red barn and 2 story red house. At this point Route 58 will turn to gravel (Hazen’s Notch Road). Stay right (on pavement) and proceed north on Buckhill Road for 2 miles (look for field day signs). Turn right on Trumpass Road and the farm is on the left.

Many thanks to our sponsors for their generous support and contributions!

Northern Grain Growers Association
University of Vermont Extension
USDA Risk Management Association
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Cornell University Willsboro Farm Open House

Posted: June 30th, 2010 by outcropn

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
2:00pm to 4:00pm
willsboro_wheat_crewdotted-line-large
48 Sayward Lane, Willsboro, NY
(just past Willsboro Central School on the right)
Google Map
Admission is free and open to the public
Research projects featured: Grass biofuel production, Season extension using high tunnels, Nutrient management, Tillage practices, and soil health, Organic grain production, Double Cropping forages, Heritage wheat trials, Cold hardy wine grape variety trial
For more information call 518-963-7492

Addressing Fertility, Forage and Grain Production with Farmer Ingenuity

Posted: June 30th, 2010 by outcropn

Monday, July 19, 2010, 11:00-3:00 pm, The Beidler Family Farm, Randolph Ctr, VT
Unwilling to rest on past successes,Brent and Regina Beidler continually seek innovative ways to address common farming challenges such as limited growing seasons, production of a single commodity, nutrient management and pasture compaction. This field day will highlight some of the farm activities to manage these challenges, including grazing season extension through the use of Japanese millet and brassicas, pasture compost application, growing small grains such as spelt and oats for sale and bedding, and use of a Keyline plow. We’ll also have demonstrations of spelt hulling and a newly-completed solar tractor. After lunch, the group will visit several experiments hosted at VTC including UVM organic corn and pasture species trials, and a UVM graduate student experiment undersowing spring wheat with red clover to address Fusarium head blight.
COST: $10 to attend. Lunch provided by the NOFA pizzamobile. Please register by July 9.
DIRECTIONS: The Beidler Family Farm is located off I-89 Exit 4, travel east 1/2 mile toward
the entrance to VT Technical College. Take a right at the VTC entrance, and then a left onto South Randolph Road, just before VTC’s Red Schoolhouse. The farm is 1 mile on the left, after the VTC orchards. 823 South Randolph Road, Randolph Center, VT. (802) 728-5601.
QUESTIONS? Jenn Colby, (802) 656-0858, www.uvm.edu/pasture

Sponsored by:
The Pasture Program at the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, UVM Extension NW Crops & Soils team, Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT, VT Technical College, and the UVM Plant & Soil Science Department

Armyworms Reported in Maine

Posted: June 28th, 2010 by outcropn

Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension

Download a PDF version of this article.

Armyworm damage has been reported in Maine. Please don’t panic, but do go out and scout your corn and grass fields for armyworms. When full grown, the caterpillars can be almost 1.5 inches long. The caterpillars are usually greenish or brownish, but can be almost black. The sides and back of the caterpillar have light colored stripes running along the body. The caterpillars normally feed at night and much damage can occur before they mature. The preferred foods are grasses including corn, grains, and timothy. They will feed on other plants if grasses are unavailable. Feeding will start on the lower leaves and move upwards. A large population can strip an entire field in just a few days. When the field is eaten they “march’ to adjacent fields. Corn fields that are minimum or no-tilled into grass sod or fields infested with grass weeds are most susceptible. For more information on scouting and control options please contact Dr. Heather Darby at the University of Vermont Extension at (802) 524-6501.

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