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On a Farm Not So Near You: Tillamook, OR

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: March 19, 2015

On a Farm Not So Near You: Tillamook, OR
During the last week in January my husband and I took a trip to Oregon. As we both work in the dairy industry, it was only fitting that we included a farm tour. We visited Victor Dairy, LLC, a 400-cow grazing dairy near the coast which is a member the Tillamook County Creamery Association, a well-known local cooperative. We made the connection with farm owner Chad Allen through a friend of mine who works for the Oregon State Extension Service.
When we left the farm, my husband, Garrett, commented that dairy farming in Oregon seems to be almost a completely different business than dairy farming in New York. The first thing that jumped out at us was the weather. Allen said that in the Tillamook Valley, temperatures stay between 30 and 70 degrees year round. While they do get a few snowstorms and freezes in the winter, the mostly-open barns show that winter weather isnít a constant problem for them. As for summer, cows donít suffer terribly from heat stress, as witnessed by the relatively low number of fans in the barns.
While the cool summers are great for the cows, and the abundant rainfall creates excellent conditions for grazing, these factors make prospects for corn silage pretty dismal. The TMR at Victor Dairy includes flaked corn and barley, cottonseed, wheat distillers, brewerís malt, alfalfa hay, a protein/vitamin/mineral mix and hay silage in the form of baleage; no bunker silo to be found! Allen shared with us that they used to purchase corn silage by the truckload from the valley on the other side of the mountains, but that the cows never did very well on it, and that the quality deteriorated rapidly within 2-3 days. Now they rely on baleage as the main forage in their TMR. Thatís quite hard to imagine coming from a state where growing corn is an integral part of dairy farming. In the summer the primarily Holstein herd spends most of its time grazing, and receives grain in the parlor and TMR in the barns.  
Another interesting and radically different aspect of the operation is manure management. All of the farmís liquid manure is delivered to a digester owned by the Port of Tillamook Bay, and the effluent is trucked back to the farm. The tax credits and federal carbon credits are signed over to the port, and a broker sells those to offset the cost of hauling. Part of the contract also stipulates that no more N and P can be returned to the farm in effluent than were taken away in raw manure. Allen says he has been happy with the program overall, and highlights this benefit: 7-8% of the nitrogen returned to the farm in effluent is in a more readily available form to the plants upon spreading than undigested manure.
Iíll have to admit that the green grass and light rain felt pretty good for a January day, but the mildness of the Oregon winter doesnít mean that dairy farmers there donít have any challenges, theyíre just different than ours here in New York. 











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Dairy Cattle Summer Research Update

July 18, 2019
Batavia, NY

After the day's work is done, come hear about two new research trials conducted by Julio Giordano's lab:
  • Strategies for improving dairy cattle reproductive performance and economics
  • Using automated sensors for improving dairy cattle health monitoring and management

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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm
Waterloo, NY

Join the Finger Lakes Graziers on a pasture walk and learn about soil health. 
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USDA Announces New Decision Tool for New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 ? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of a new web-based tool - developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin - to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized
DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign up for this USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens on June 17.

"With sign-up for the
DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program," Secretary Perdue said. "Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry."

The University of Wisconsin launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA and funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees associated with participation in
DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Higher coverage levels, monthly payments, and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new five million pound maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers."

For more information, access the tool at For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

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