Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

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  • Farm Business Management
  • Field Crops
  • Livestock & Small Farms

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Increasing Milk Production with Energy Efficient Lighting

Jackson Wright, Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

January 2, 2013
Increasing Milk Production with Energy Efficient Lighting

Common light fixtures found on dairy operations are T8 fluorescent, metal halide, high pressure sodium, and more recently, light emitting diode (LED). Each fixture has a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. For instance, fluorescent lights are energy efficient and usually pay for themselves within 2 years of installation. On the other hand, fluorescent fixtures require maintenance, perform poorly under cold or hot conditions, and contain mercury which could be disastrous should a bulb break around lactating cows. High intensity discharge (HID) fixtures provide ample light at ground level when ceiling heights are greater than 12 feet. However, these fixtures require a long pre-heat or start-up time. Finally, LED lights can provide high energy efficiency with a reported 100,000 hour operating life. This is significantly longer than the reported 20,000 hour operating life of fluorescent and HID fixtures. Moreover, LED lights are expected to have lower maintenance costs, contain no mercury, and provide instantaneous reliable light. Though LED fixtures are expensive when compared to the other fixtures.  

These unique attributes can make it confusing to select fixtures best suited for dairy operations. However when considering implementing LDPP, LED fixtures may provide an edge. Consider this: lighting performance is often measured based on lumens/watt. This can be a misleading for dairy producers because lumens represent effective light for the human eye. Dairy cows perceive light differently than humans meaning a light fixture can provide ample lumens/watt, but may not provide light in the appropriate spectrum to stimulate milk yield. For instance, high pressure sodium fixtures provide high lumens/watt; however light output from these fixtures is biased towards longer wavelengths which cows cannot perceive. Fluorescent fixtures provide ample effective light for the cow; however under cold conditions light output of fluorescent fixtures can decrease by more than 40%. Cold conditions would be typical of most barns during the winter months, precisely when supplemental lighting from light fixtures would be required. LED fixtures can provide light in the same spectrum as sunlight and are more reliable under cold conditions. These two considerations suggest LED fixtures may be best suited for implementing LDPP; however this scenario needs to be investigated under barn conditions.
Currently, Pro-Dairy is conducting a study investigating the cost benefits of LED lighting systems and T8 fluorescent lighting systems on dairy operations. This study will account for the initial cost of the fixtures, fixture performance, operating life, expected energy savings, and milk production to determine which lighting system is the most cost effective for dairy producers.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

2019 Corn Silage Pre-Harvest Workshop - Penn Yan

September 17, 2019
10:00am to Noon
Penn Yan, NY

Corn silage harvest is drawing near. The way corn silage is harvested and stored is a single event that affects your operation for the entire next year. Are you prepared to set your operation up for success? 
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Ontario County Fun on the Farm

September 21, 2019
11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Seneca Castle, NY

Fun on the Farm works to educate non-farm public and our neighbors about agriculture around them. It is fun and educational.

Fun on the Farm attracts thousands of people and gives us the opportunity to communicate to the community the benefits of the agricultural production in Ontario County, the state, and the nation.

The event is free! There are many agricultural products that are available to be sampled. It is the perfect place to try that product you have seen in the store but didn't want to commit to purchasing.

Food is available to purchase for lunch. It is provided by a local service group.
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Bovine Reproduction and AI Training Course

September 24 - September 25, 2019
9:30am - 3:30pm
Shortsville, NY


This two-day AI workshop will be held on September 24 and 25. 

Topics covered will include:

• Reproductive Physiology
• Synchronization Protocols
• Heat Detection
• Artificial Insemination
• Proper Thawing of Semen
• Loading A.I. guns
• Practice Breeding Cows

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Preventing Sexual Harassment on Farms

If you're wondering how to get your farm business in compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Regulations, you've come to the right place.  The 2018 New York State budget included new regulations addressing sexual harassment in the workplace that became effective on October 9, 2018 for all New York employers, including agricultural employers. All employers are required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy and to provide annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for all employees.  Check out the resources developed by Cornell Ag Workforce Development, including step-by-step instructions and farm-friendly training videos.

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."