Crops & Soils Field Day

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

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: or

*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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
2:00pm to 4:00pm
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

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,

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

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.

Slug Populations are on the Rise

Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension

Download a PDF version of this article.

Continuous wet weather over the past 3 years presumably has led to a rise in slug populations. Slugs are a problem associated with fields with high amounts of crop residues. They like moist and cool conditions and primarily feed on crops after dusk and through the night. It is rare to see slug damage on hay and corn crops but over the last 2 years we have heard of several cases where field crops have been annihilated. You may not notice the slugs in the field during the day it is “the undercover crop pest”. They hide under residue and soil clods during the day and wait for the coolness of the night and crawl out to eat your crops. They leave a trail of slimy silvery white goo on the plants and the soil. The most typical species causing devastation to field crops is the grey garden slug (Deroceras reticulatum). Other less common species include the dusky slug (Arion subfuscus) and the marsh slug (Deroceras leavae). These slugs are common sights in corn and soybean fields, but not known to cause economic damage to field crops. Their damage looks as is hail has shredded the corn plants and eventually if the populations are high enough they eat entire plants. Generally fields that have high residue such as no-till and heavy weed populations are more likely to become inundated with slugs. Some plants can withstand 10 or more slugs per plant but others are more susceptible. Higher populations may warrant control or you can pray that it dries out. Certain management practices like tillage on a regular basis may help to reduce slug populations. Another management consideration is to alter planting dates prior to when slugs begin their heavy feeding or delay planting to when the soil has warmed and the slug populations have decreased.
Control of slugs with a pesticide is often difficult due to the slug’s ability to shed slime, simultaneously shedding the toxins.
For more information on scouting and control options please contact Dr. Heather Darby at the University of Vermont Extension at (802) 524-6501.

Corn is Ready to Topdress

Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension

Download a PDF version of this article.

The corn crop is off to a good start this season. Many fields are at the stage of rapid nutrient uptake. A key decision that needs to be made by farmers is whether additional nitrogen should be applied to meet the crop’s need for the remainder of the season. The PSNT is one of the best tools available to gauge if supplemental nitrogen is needed. This test offers a diagnostic method for evaluating the nitrogen supplying capacity of the soil just prior to the plants period of greatest N demand. Corn plants begin their greatest uptake of N around the 5th leaf stage, or when the plants are approximately 12 inches tall at the center of the whorl. In contrast to traditional soil tests, the soil sample is collected from the top 12 inches of soil when corn plants are approximately 12 inches tall or at least one week before planned sidedressing. Growers who apply animal or green manures to their fields are especially likely to benefit from the PSNT. The organic matter in manure contributes nitrogen that is not well accounted for by other soil test methods. For assistance in collecting samples for PSNT testing contact your local extension specialist. Although the PSNT is one of the best tools we have to measure available nitrate it is not without short falls. The reliability of results from this testing procedure is heavily dependent on making sure the samples are collected, handled, and processed correctly. Even if sampling, handling, and processing are done correctly, the reliability of this test when values are low is sometimes questionable. If the values are high–greater than 25 ppm–then the odds are good that no additional N will be needed for the crop.

Vermont Oilseed Crop Production Cost and Profit Calculator

As Part of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s ongoing Vermont Biofuels Initiative and UVM Extension’s research, a tool was developed intending to help farmers determine their total cost of production for oilseeds and oilseed products (e.g. meal, oil, biodiesel.)  The tool also allows the user to determine a potential profit based on assumed market pricing for these products.  Summary results are provided as reference and are based on either compiled Vermont oilseed grower data or other published data from other parts of the USA.  Whenever possible, the user should carefully review their own specific data to arrive at the entered information.  Click here for more information and to download a copy of the excel workbook.

Making Diversity Work With Dairy

Thursday, July 8th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Tamerlane Farm, 2586 Pudding Hill Rd Lyndonville, VT

Download a brochure for this workshop (pdf).

Tamerlane Farm is a diverse dairy, livestock, vegetable and grass-fed beef operation in Lyndonville, VT.  Milk is produced for Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative and they supply beef and vegetables to their family-ownedrestaurant, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury School and Lyndon Institute. They also run a small composting operation where 5 tons of food waste per week from area schools, stores and restaurants is diverted from landfills, mixed with wood chips and manure and is converted to screened compost.  They worked with NRCS to develop a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan for the 420 acres they farm, and have been certified organic since 2003.
The Paris’ feed their cows a low-grain diet combined with high quality forages. They practice the hay in a day system and grow high energy grains as a complement to the high-protein pasture. We will tour their double cropping system of barley and turnips for late season grazing, the pastured poultry system as well as their vegetable gardens.
This workshop is Co-sponsored by NOFA-VT, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Pasture Program, the Vermont Grass Farmers Association and the Organic Valley Farmers Advocating for Organics Program.
Cost: $10
Lunch will be provided by the NOFA pizza oven.

For more information or to register by June 30th,  please contact: Heather Darby or Amanda Gervais

Phone: 802-524-6501

Directions: From Interstate 91 take exit 23 for US-5 toward State Route 114/Lyndonville/Burke.  Turn Right at US-5 N/Memorial Dr.  Continue to follow US-5 N.  Turn left at Center St.  Turn right to stay on Center St.  Take a slight left at VT-122 N/Gilman Rd.  Take the first right onto Pudding Hill Rd.  Farm will be on the right.
*If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please let our office know by June 24th so we may assist  you.
UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work.
Many thanks to our sponsors for their generous support and contributions!

Emergence Problems Plague Vermont Corn Fields

Emergence Problems Plague Vermont Corn Fields
Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension


Download a pdf version of this article.
It was a great spring for planting. The conditions were dry and many folks were able to get their corn planted by mid-May. However, dry and cool conditions during planting have resulted in a number of corn fields with less than optimum germination. These stand losses could translate into yield loss at harvest time.
I have been asked by many, what is the penalty for uneven emergence?  Uneven stands will lower yields compared to stands where all the plants look the same. The later emerged corn is at a competitive disadvantage because it must compete with larger plants for moisture, sunlight, and nutrients. The amount of loss from uneven stands or reduced stands is difficult to estimate.  Studies from the Midwest indicate a 6% grain yield loss if a quarter of the plants emerge 1 week later.  A 17% yield loss can be expected if plants emerge 2 weeks later.  If the stands were filled in at this time the yield difference will only be 7%.  A 3 week emergence delay will decrease yields greater than 20%.  In some cases the corn will not emerge at all and yield losses will be higher than from uneven emergence. In fields with losses of ¼, ½, and ¾ of the stand, grain yields will be reduced by 10, 30, and 50% respectively. There have been no studies conducted to measure potential silage loss in uneven or reduced stands.
There are many factors that influenced corn seed germination this spring. Corn needs uniform soil moisture and temperature for rapid, uniform germination and emergence. The most likely culprits of uneven emergence and stand loss were the dry and cool soil! If the soil is too dry at planting, seedlings will emerge at different times.  The emergence times can vary between sections of the field, within rows of the field, and from one plant to the next. The primary factors that influence soil moisture in a field are differences in soil type or topography.  However, I think this year the biggest cause of moisture variation was from secondary tillage passes.  Secondary tillage will impact soil moisture because it will unevenly distribute moist and dry soil particles.  The more tillage trips before planting the more the soil would have dried out.  Many farmers plant corn at a 2 inch depth to ensure seed has adequate moisture to germinate. This year this depth may have been too dry as well. Crops that were seeded shallow would have been a greater risk for poor emergence.
Uneven soil temperature may also contribute to reduced or uneven emergence.  Corn will germinate and emerge slowly and unevenly when soil temperatures are less than 50F. Uneven soil temperatures in the seed zone can also be caused by variable soil type, drainage, seed depth control, and surface residue cover in reduced tillage systems. This year many farmers tried no-till and/or zone-till systems to reduce fuel costs. Uneven residue coverage in these systems causes lower soil temperatures under heavier cover than under barer spots in the field.  It is possible we also experienced uneven seeding depths due to the well worked soil.
Although it maybe too late to replant or fill in the stand, we will hope for an excellent growing season that will bring the existing corn stands to maximum yield potential.

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