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Stockpiling Pastures

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms & Livestock
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

July 10, 2018
Stockpiling Pastures

There has been some discussion amongst technical service providers that operate their own farms regarding stockpiling pastures. There are basic resources around, but an attempt is being made to take it to the next level. 

The theory behind stockpiling is to save some pasture for late fall/early winter grazing. Livestock are moved off the pastures that are set aside for stockpiling early to mid-August. It is recommended to apply 50-75 lb actual Nitrogen fertilizer to give the grasses a boost. With timely late August - early September rains, pastures will grow and reduce the need for feeding hay, and if livestock are normally fed in a barn, the manure is out on pastures.

Some of the recent exchanges before contemplating stockpiling are below. What is the fertility of your pastures? Ideally, soil samples are taken periodically, so you know this answer. Do they need some Phosphorus and Potassium? Apply that along with the Nitrogen. 

Poultry litter would give your pastures a jump start for stockpiling. A general analysis of litter is 3-3-2. You'll need about a ton/acre to achieve an adequate amount of N (60 lb/ac). The organic matter will be beneficial for the long term, too.

Work has been done on species selection for stockpiling. Typically tall fescue is the best due to its standability, yield, and quality. There is less tall fescue grown in NWNY compared to orchardgrass, reed canarygrass, bromegrasses, or timothy. They will stockpile but not as well as tall fescue. Alfalfa will stockpile and handle stockpiling and grazing better than late-season mechanical harvest. Clovers will not withstand stockpiled grazing well. 

It may be worthwhile to clip pastures and/or graze ‘tight' prior to stockpiling, particularly if they have gone to seed. If not, there may be more stemmy growth and less leaves.

For best utilization it is important to strip-graze the stockpiling. Use high density of livestock on small strips to graze effectively, set up in calculated amounts.  These can be subdivided with temporary fencing, and this may take some trial and error to set up the amount of pasture available. One estimate from a beef producer is pasture utilization may be up to 90% with daily moves.  

Some questions to ponder:
Do you have extra acreage available for stockpiling? What are the economics of stockpiling? Obviously, there is savings if you feed less hay, due to harvesting costs. What is the value of the land - taxes or rent? Could additional livestock be grazed during the season, such as dairy heifers, stockers, or ewes with lambs that may leave the farm prior to the end of the season? Does heavy grazing affect spring growth? Should some residual be left? What about the early season snowfall? How does that affect quality? 

I would be interested to hear from anyone who is experimenting with stockpiling and what are your experiences, both good and bad. Give me a call or drop me an email at nig3@cornell.edu. I would really like to hear!




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Upcoming Events

AGROTOURISM - FREE FARMER TRAINING! ENROLL and GROW YOUR BUSINESS

May 9 - March 1, 2020

Rochester, NY

Expand your farm operations by starting Agritourism, either as your primary or as an add-on activity on your farm. Increasing your farm visibility, connecting with the community, educating the public, creating new local markets, sharing your knowledge and pride - these are just a few attributes that come with Agritourism.

We are inviting all farmers in the Genesee Valley Region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates) to enroll in this FREE Agritourism Farmer Training program.  
The class size is limited.  We are looking for a group of 10-12 farmers to teach them how to successfully develop and execute Agritourism events in their farm and grow their business.

The training is funded by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority in support of local farmers, agriculture and food industry. 


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Calling all 9th-12th graders! 4th Annual Precision Agriculture Day at Genesee Community College

May 21, 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm Register by Friday May 10th! $15/per person includes lunch
Batavia, NY

Calling all 9th-12th graders!  We have an exciting new program for students interested in technology, science, engineering, and agriculture!
Would you like to:
  • Learn about how Drones collect information
  • Check out some potential career opportunities that have new and ever-changing technology
  • Learn how these technologies can be used in our own backyards in WNY
  • Discover potential and exciting career opportunities

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Human Resource Management on the Farm - 2 sessions! Register by Friday 5/17!!

May 21 - May 22, 2019
12:00 - 2:00 pm (2 sessions! Day 1 CCE- Ontario, or Day 2 CCE - Wyoming)

Are you looking for motivation and resources to implement new Human Resource Management practices on your farm?

Join us for one of two sessions in WNY this spring. At each session, we'll discuss:

  • What Human Resource Management is, and why it's important on your farm
  • Examples of different Human Resource Management practices and how to implement them
In addition, you will:
  • Complete a self-assessment to determine the areas of highest priority for your farm
  • Hear from several local dairy farmers who have recently implemented new HRM practices on their farms.
  • Go home with a plan of action and resources to help you accomplish your HRM goals

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Announcements

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 fsa.usda.gov/dmc-tool. For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit fsa.usda.gov or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.


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.

https://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=761&crumb=dairy|1

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