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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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Upcoming Events

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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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers-Cancelled!

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm

The Finger Lakes Graziers pasture walk has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. 
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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."

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