Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

Program Areas

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

Enrollment Benefits

  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • Ag Focus Newsletter
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

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An Innovative Approach to Cow Cooling

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

May 1, 2012

Currently, the primary methodologies for heat abatement on dairy operations are the combination of shade, fans, and sprinklers. Sprinklers provide the most effective method for cow cooling as they facilitate evaporative cooling, however many have raised concerns over excessive water usage on agricultural operations. One way to address these concerns while still providing adequate heat abatement measures would be to look to the south. In Texas droughts are common and as a result rainwater collection systems are widely used to maximize the use of this precious resource. Utilizing rainwater as the primary water source for cow cooling systems would offer many benefits as collecting rainwater would reduce demand on utilities during peak summer usage. After the initial installation, water collected would be free to the dairy producer reducing utility bills; utilizing rainwater would reduce pressure on many manure management systems; and because rainwater provides water with zero hardness, this approach would eliminate scale build up on sprinkler heads.  

In addition, dairy operations inherently have a large roof surface area in order to provide adequate housing to their cows. Moreover, the northeast has relatively consistent rainfall throughout the summer months with western New York averaging 3.34 inches of rain in June, 3.47 inches of rain in July, and 3.38 inches of rain in August. According to the Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting, approximately 0.62 gallons per square foot per inch of rainfall can be collected through rainwater collection systems. Conservatively, a dairy operation with 25,000 square feet of roof surface area with 3.3 inches of rainfall would capture 51,150 gallons of rainwater per month. For feed line sprinkler applications, assuming 500 feet of bunk space with sprinkler heads placed every 8 feet using a 0.5 gallon of water per minute, running 12 hours each day and cycling ON for 1 minute at 15 minutes intervals. The cow cooling system would require 1,512 gallons of water per day, or 45,360 gallons per month. Similarly, the holding area would be of interest as this area is the most hostile environment on the farm in relation to heat stress. For holding area sprinkler applications, assuming the holding area that is 20' by 100' with a sprinkler system delivering 1 gallon per 150 square feet per minute, running 12 hours each day and cycling ON for 1 minute at 6 minute intervals would require 1442 gallons of water per day, or 43,260 gallons per month. Both applications are below the anticipated amount of collected rainwater, suggesting that utilizing rainwater as the primary water source for cow cooling systems is feasible in the Northeast during the summer months.

Finally, because the water being harvested is used for cow cooling, water quality is not a primary concern. Therefore for this application a rainwater collection system can be installed relatively cheaply. To harvest rainwater for cow cooling would require reliable gutters that minimize overflow and water loss. A first flush diverter, to minimize contamination from the roof surface such as dust, leaves, blooms, twigs, insect bodies, animal feces, pesticides and other airborne residues, and a roof washers connecting the gutters to the storage tank to filter leaves and other small debris and minimize mosquito breeding. A polypropylene storage tank will also be needed, and that must be green or black to prevent algae growth, and finally, a water pump. These systems would be most beneficial to producers on municipal water supply or who struggle with hard water or low water supply during the summer months.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Pasture Walk - Wild Geese Farm - Franklinville, NY

August 21, 2019
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Fanklinville, NY

Topics to include: Tools for Managing Rotational Grazed Pasture, Weed ID and Management and Calculating Cost of Production. 
view details

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

view details

Corn Congress - Batavia Location

Event Offers DEC Credits

January 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Batavia, NY

Please join the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Program's team for our annual Corn Congress.  DEC re-certification points and Certified Crop Adviser credits available, so bring your picture ID.  Lunch is included.  Hear from program-related professionals and visit with our sponsoring vendors.  
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2019 NY Corn & Soybean Yield Contests - Entries Due 8/30/19

The annual corn and soybean yield contests sponsored by the New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association are underway. Click Here for the 2019 yield contest entry form.  This form and contest rules can also be found on the NY Corn & Soybean Growers Association web page at: 

Entry forms must be postmarked by Friday, August 30 and mailed or emailed to Mike Stanyard. Cost is $30 per entry. Good Luck! 

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.  This is a recording of the presentations given at the live training on July 30 and July 31, 2019 across New York State, which provides updates and farm-specific resources developed by CCE. View the recording here:

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."