Summer 2010 Events

Lots of exciting workshops are cropping up this summer.  Our 7th annual NW Crops and Soils Field Day is on August 5th, be sure to mark it on your calendar, there’s something for everyone! Click here to download a detailed list of the workshops and events we have planned for this growing season.
2009 Field Days

Producing High Quality Organic Bread Wheat

Producing High Quality Organic Bread Wheat
Tuesday, June 8 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Gleason Grains
Bridport, VT

Download a pdf version of the brochure.

Ben and his wife Theresa have been growing organic grain and milling on their farm in Bridport for over 28 years!  Join us as we tour their farm and milling facility.

2009 Workshop at Gleason Grains
Ben will talk about his experiences growing organic grain including; crop rotation, weed control, and plant  fertility.  One of the most challenging aspects of growing organic wheat is providing the crop with enough fertility at the right time. UVM Extension is currently collaborating with Ben on a SARE Partnership grant to address this issue. We’ll take a look at this organic fertility trial, investigating topdressing strategies and how they relate to wheat growth, production and quality.
We will then have the opportunity to tour Ben’s wheat processing facility, where he’ll discuss grain harvest, storage, seed cleaning,  and his milling operation.
The workshop fee is $10.00 per person

Lunch will be provided by the NOFA pizza oven

For more information or to register by June 1,  please contact:

Phone: 802-524-6501
Heather Darby or Erica  Cummings

Is that Timothy?

Recently, we have received a number of inquiries in regards to a timothy look alike that has colonized many
fields in northern Vermont.  This grass has a purple hue and a similar spike shaped head to timothy.  Yes, this grass has already “headed-out”!  If you take a closer look you’ll find that it is quite different from the
commonly grown forage grass timothy.  This grass is actually called Meadow Barley, a common grass found in conservation mixes, which may explain its relatively new appearance in the area.  It has high feed value for wildlife in the early spring, but unfortunately, it has low feed value for domestic animals.  It is a scrawny,

short, wiry stemmed plant with few leaves that can quickly colonize a variety of soil types and conditions.  It

is well suited to grow in wet areas but can also tolerate dry conditions.  It heads out in the early spring

before you would even think about putting a mowing machine in the field.  Under the right conditions it can
out-compete the desirable forage species.  Control is relatively easy to achieve.  One option is to rotate the
field to an annual crop.  In a perennial forage situation, early season close mowing and/or management intensive grazing is a means to eliminate this weedy species.  Lastly, proper fertility and pH for the desired forage species will help these plants out compete the meadow barley.  For further information please feel free to contact the NW Crops and Soils TeamDownload a pdf version of this article.



Watch out for Wireworms

Reports of wireworms destroying crops have been rolling in from the fields.  Wireworms are a hard-bodied brown worm that is the larvae form of the click beetle.  They look very similar to meal worms.  The adult click beetles burrow into the ground and lay their eggs near grass roots.  This is why wireworms are commonly an issue in newly turned sod and/or weedy fields where grass is the primary species.  Wireworms have a wide range of plants they like to eat but are especially destructive to corn.  Corn fields attacked by wireworms will exhibit reduced plant populations and ultimately yield.  The wireworms feed on the seeds prior to or just after germination.  In addition, they can also bore into underground portions of the corn plant causing them to wither and die.

Wireworms are most often a problem in fields that have been in sod for many years or the second year following sod.  They are generally an early season pest issue of corn.  Wireworm infestations are usually noted in areas of a field that stay moist for long periods of time or when corn planted early is subject to cool and wet soil conditions.  As soil temperatures warm, wireworms will begin to move deeper in the soil profile, eventually to where they are no longer a threat to the growing corn.  With wireworms, there is no effective rescue treatment once symptoms of damage are observed.  Therefore it is wise to either keep highly susceptible crops out of high risk areas, delay planting in high risk fields, or apply an approved insecticide treatment.  There are several soil-applied or seed treatment insecticides that can give satisfactory wireworm control.  Some natural controls, such as fungi and nematodes, may keep wireworm populations at tolerable levels.  For a list of recommended insecticides, contact your local Extension office.  Download a pdf version of this article.


Feeling the Squeeze: Manage Nutrients Efficiently to Offset High Fertilizer Prices

The projected high fertilizer prices, especially nitrogen (N), should encourage you to manage nutrients on your farm as efficiently as possible.  The goal this year should be to reduce input costs without sacrificing yield.  Follow the link below to learn about three strategies that can help you manage nutrient supplies efficiently for 2010.

Manage Nutrients Efficiently to Offset High Fertilizer Prices (pdf) by Heather Darby, UVM Extension Agronomic Specialist

New England Farm Energy Confernce

statelineNew England Farm Energy Conference
March 15-16, 2010
Radisson Hotel
Manchester, New Hampshire

Click here to download brochure and for registration information.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mike Morris, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)

Mike Morris works with farmers, ranchers, and communities on more sustainable ways of using energy and water. He is especially interested in irrigation, solar energy, and small-scale biofuels. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, and has taught at colleges and universities in Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, specializing in ethics, technology, and the environment. Mike’s keynote address will focus on assessing on-farm energy options.

There will be Two Concurrent Tracks of Presentations over Two Days of the Conference.

I) Track 1: Oilseeeds and Biodiesel

* Oilseed agronomics
* Equipment for oilseed production and seed handling
* Biodiesel processing: quality and safety
* Harvesting and storing oilseed crops
* Modifying tractors and equipment for vegetable oil
* Community-based biodiesel production

II) Track 2: Greenhouse Efficiency and Renewable Energy

* Greenhouse efficiency and conservation
* Solar PV and hot water systems
* Heating with shell corn
* Heating with waste vegetable oil
* Logwood systems
* Wood pellet use

Hosted by:

Cooperative Extension of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont; and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

Growing the Whole Grain!

Please join us at the 6th annual grain growing conference.  This daylong event will provide you with a diverse array of educational topics. This year the conference has been expanded to include 3 concurrent sessions throughout the day.  This new format will have something for everyone!

Download the Brochure (pdf)

LOCATION: The University of Vermont’s Davis Center, Burlington

DATE: March 9, 2010

TIME: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm



We are excited to have Dr. Paul Hepperly in Vermont for our 2010 conference! Dr. Hepperly is a Fullbright scholar who has spent his career working with farmers to create sustainable food systems. He has worked with farmers from India, Africa, Europe, and South America to solve critical agricultural sustainability issues. Paul grew up on a family farm in Illinois and holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology and an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He has worked for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, in academia, and most recently for the Rodale Institute. Dr. Hepperly has been a champion of sustainable agricultural systems throughout his career. He has received the Rachel Carson Council Sense of Science Award and the da Vinci Community Award from the da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology.

We are grateful that Ron Rosmann, a pioneer organic farmer, will provide a practical outlook on strategies for successful grain production. Ron and his family operate a 600 acre diversified certified organic grain and livestock farm west of Harlan, Iowa. Crops include corn, soybeans, flax, oats, barley, hay and pasture. Livestock includes 90 certified organic stock cows utilizing intensive grazing management practices and a 50 sow farrow-to-finish hog operation. In 1986, he helped found the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), whose mission is to “research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound, and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture”. He has been an on-farm research cooperator with PFI, Iowa State University, and the USDA. Ron was the board president of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
New this year, we will offer a series of baking and cooking demonstrations throughout the day. The goal is to learn how to integrate local grains into local products. We are honored to have local bakers join us in the grain movement.

Learn about Biofuels on VPT’s Emerging Science

VPT’s Emerging Science- Episode 2

Several scientists from the University of Vermont and University of Vermont Extension, including our own Heather Darby,  discuss Ecological Economics and how it relates to growing biofuels in Vermont.  Funding for the broadcast was provided by EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research).  This program supports science and engineering at Vermont colleges and businesses to encourage young Vermonters to seek careers in science.

2010 Winter Hops Conference


After a very successful First Annual Meeting, graciously hosted by Four Star Farms, we are happy to announce the date of our first Winter Hops Conference.

Hopping to It!

March 26, 2010

10:00 – 3:00

Trapp Family Lodge

Stowe, Vermont

We have some very exciting guest speakers lined up!
Jason Perrault from Perrault Farms in Washington State is a fourth generation hop farmer. Over the last few years, Jason has been working on breeding hop varieties resistant to pests and suited to organic systems. Additionally, he is working on breeding varieties for low-trellis systems. Jason is also looking for more environmentally sustainable ways for hops producers to farm. He is on the Hop Research Council and is one of the breeders we can thank for the new variety, Simcoe.
Rick Pedersen of Pedersen Farms in Seneca Castle, NY has 10 acres and 15 varieties of hops on his 1500 acre vegetable and grain farm. He is a member of the Northeast Hop Alliance, and has been growing hops for over 10 years. In 2009 Pedersen Farms sold hops to breweries from Maryland, to Massachusetts, to Pennsylvania. Specialty “harvest” brews have been released in the Northeast, some made entirely with Pedersen Farms hops. Rick will share his experiences with growing in the Northeast, setbacks he has faced, and his encounters with the local brewing markets.
François Biron is an Innovation and Agroenvironmental Counselor and will be joining us from the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. He is part of a hops variety trial lead by a private research center (CREDETAO) in Pontiac, QC, and has been working with local growers and brewers to invigorate hops production in Quebec. He will share his observations and reflections on the future of hops in the Northeast.
The Trapp Family Lodge has recently established a brewery called Trapp Lager. Allen Van Anda, Trapp Family Brewmaster, will lead us on a tour of their facility where they hope to one day make a lager using their own organic hops and barley.


Lunch will be provided. Registration fee: $10.
Please RSVP by March 17th to UVM Extension at (802) 524-6501, or Heather Darby or
Rosalie Madden

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Brochure.
Directions: Take Exit 10 (Waterbury/Stowe) from I-89. Turn north onto Route 100 toward Stowe. Continue on 100N for approximately 7.5 miles. Turn left on Moscow Road just past the Fly Rod Shop. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right on Barrows Road. Continue on Barrows Road until you reach a T intersection, approximately 1.5 miles. Turn left at stop sign and proceed approximately 1.5 miles up a steep, winding paved road, following signs to Trapp Family Lodge, which will be on your right at the top of the hill.
If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please let our office know by March 17 so we may assist you.

Conservation Tillage Tools Conference

ttools4Join us for a day long workshop focused on conservation tillage tools! With increasing fuel and input costs reduced tillage just makes sense. Come and listen and learn from several farmers with vast experience with conservation tillage. January 26, 2010 10:00-3:30pm.

Click on picture to download a pdf copy of the brochure.

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