Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

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

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  • 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

Forage Congress

February 27, 2019
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Mt. Morris, NY

  • Climate Smart Farming Decision Tools
  • Forage Quality to Reduce Purchase Concentrate Cost.  N Management, Guidelines for Grass, Low Lignin Alfalfa, Harvest Schedule
  • Fiber Digestibility & Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Using Fiber & Starch Yields
  • Silage Fermentation
  • Inventory & Shrink
  • Producer Panel

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MANURE APPLICATOR TRAINING - DEC Approved Training for CAFO Farms, register by 2/22/2019!

February 28, 2019
9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Wyo Co Ag Bus Center, Warsaw and 1 p.m. - 3 p. m. Civil Def Bldg., Bath NY

This informational meeting is for all farm owners, family members, and employees who manage their farm's manure. All farms, regardless of size are encouraged to attend. This is a DEC approved Manure Applicator Training that is required for CAFO farms. A certificate will be provided to each farm that participates in the meeting. 
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Raising Healthy Livestock: The Basics of Feeding, Health, and Quality Care

March 2, 2019
10 am - 1 pm
Lockport, NY

Raising livestock can be a rewarding enterprise. There are many things to consider, including what to feed, how to keep them healthy and how to handle them. Cornell Cooperative Extension NWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team is holding a workshop for livestock farmers to help address these topics. 
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CDL Training Program For Agricultural Producers and their Employees ONLY

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley BOCES, will be offering a CDL Training Program for both Class A and Class B licenses. This course is offered to Farm Owners, Operators, and their Employees ONLY.

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Informational Meeting)
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Classroom)
Thursday, March 7, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Classroom)
Class A CDL=$ 750.00 (Enrolled in Ag Program)
Class A CDL =$ 800.00 (not enrolled in Ag Program).
Class B CDL=$ 600.00 (Enrolled in Ag Program)
Class B CDL =$ 650.00 (Not enrolled in Ag Program)
Checks payable to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County
Held at CCE-Wyoming County., 36 Center Street, Warsaw, NY 14569

The informational meeting will be held the week before the CDL training session begins, to answer any questions you may have regarding this program and to pick up the required training materials and medical forms. To register, please contact Debra Welch at 585-786-2251 or email

Wyoming County Pride of Ag Dinner - N Java Fire hall, March 2nd

For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please contact the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, 585.786.0307.

USDA to Host 2018 Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session

The listening session will be held Feb. 26, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building located at 14th Street and Independence Ave. S.W. in Washington, D.C.

The listening session is open to the public. Participants must register at by February 22, 2019, to attend the listening session and are encouraged to provide written comments prior to the listening session. For those orally presenting comments at the listening session, written comments are encouraged to be submitted to by February 22, 2019. Additional written comments will be accepted through March 1, 2019. Comments received will be publicly available on

Three Free Digester Workshops offered through CCE St. Lawrence Co.

CCE of St. Lawrence County is offering three FREE workshops showcasing the research results from our feasibility study of anaerobic digester technology on small farms. The research was conducted by our partners at Clarkson University using the anaerobic digester at the Extension Learning Farm, which is fed both manure from a dairy operation and vegetable waste from our commercial kitchen. The digester heats a small green house that starts our seedling plants. We have a small scale vegetable-only digester as well. The research and program targets small dairies under 200 head, livestock producers, horticulture producers and anyone interested in alternative energy.

Program will be held on December 5, January 7, and March 6. A catered meal is provided at each program. Participants within the North Country Region will be given a $25 stipend to help cover travel costs, those from outside the region will be given $50. To receive the stipend, participants will need to complete a pre/post-test survey.

More information and registration information can be found here:

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1