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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  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

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ForagesIn western New York high yields of high quality forage are vital to the dairy and livestock industries. Feed-costs are often half of a farm's business expenses each year. This page contains resources and information to help farmers better manage silage, hay, and pastures. 

Corn silage and "haylage" (alfalfa or alfalfa/grass silage) are the main forages grown on dairy farms. These silages are stored in upright silos, bunker silos, piles, silage bags, and as "balelage" (plastic-wrapped round bales) where they are persevered and then fed to the cows. In recent years winter triticale silage has also become an important feed on dairy farms due to increasing land prices, short feed supplies, and winter triticale's high yields and desirable feed quality. Oats are also grown for silage as a nurse crop during the establishment of a haylage field or, in more recent years, as a fall silage planted in August after another small grain or vegetable crop. Hay is widely grown in the region for horses, beef, alpacas, sheep, goats, and dairy animals. Most of the hay is sold to local farmers and animal owners. 

However a number of farmers contract out of the state for specialty hay markets (racing horse, mushroom production, biomass, etc.). Much of the hay grown is a mixture of alfalfa with timothy or orchardgrass, but other grass species like tall fescue, reed canarygrass, bromegrasses, and ryegrasses are also planted on many farms. Pastures are very common in western New York and form the foundation of many productive dairy and livestock farms. Ladino clover, red clover, white clover, and/or birdsfoot trefoil are mixed orchardgrass, tall fescue, meadow fescue, reed canarygrass, timothy, bromegrass, and/or ryegrass on most farms. Many graziers have adopted rotational grazing practices that have increased pasture productivity by grazing small paddocks for a short period of time and then allowing that area to recover for 25-40 days before grazing again.


Most Recent Forages Content

Crop Alert

Mike Stanyard, Team Leader, Field Crops
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: August 1, 2017
Crop Alert

Timely observations, information, and control strategies for managing pests, fertility, and current conditions on northwestern NY farms.

1st Cutting Forage Quality Update

Jodi Letham, Field Crops
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: May 17, 2017

We are into the third week of monitoring 1st cutting for quality this year. Our procedure consists of using alfalfa height to predict Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) for alfalfa, alfalfa/grass mixed and grass stands. Alfalfa height has proven to be a reliable indicator of NDF values in the field.

Managing Spring Grass Growth and Selective Grazing

Last Modified: May 4, 2017
Managing Spring Grass Growth and Selective Grazing

For most beef cattle farmers who are managing their pastures in a rotational grazing system two of the biggest spring challenges are the flush of rapid growth that will occur and selective grazing. OSU Wayne Co. extension educator Rory Lewandowski reviews some basic plant growth biology and grazing principles that may suggest some management strategies. Click here for the full article. 











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Soil Health Workshop with Cover Crop Interseeder & Herbicide Demonstration

Event Offers DEC Credits

August 22, 2017
8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Albion, NY

Speakers: Wendy Taheri - a nationally recognized expert in Mycorrhizal Fungi and John Wallace - soon to be a Cornell professor with extensive experince in Drilled Interseeding of corn.

In the afternoon we will have a field demonstration of a test plot with 8 drilled interseedings of cover crops in field corn combined with a test of 4 different pre-emerge herbicides, in addition to Wendy Taheri demonstrating soil health features from a soil pit. 
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CCE Adirondack Railroad Excursion (Extension Employees & Family ONLY)

August 26, 2017
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Utica, NY

Back by popular demand the Adirondack Summer Excursion will roll again on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, The New York State Association of County Agricultural Agents (NYSACAA) is once again hosting this summer adventure. This event is open to all county, regional and campus CCE employees and their families. You do not have to be a member of NYSACAA to attend.

Last year's trip reviews were very positive. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a day full of great scenery, comradery and networking with other CCE folks from around the state. 

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Summer Dairy Research Update: Heifer Reproduction & Hypocalcemia

September 6, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Batavia, NY

Line-up of speakers:
  • Julio O. Giordano, DVM, MS, PhD, Cornell University, St. John Family Sesquicentennial, Assistant Professor - Dairy Cattle Biology & Management Department of Animal Science
  • Magdalena Masello Souza, DVM, Cornell University, PhD Student - Dairy Cattle Biology & Management Lab
  • Robert A. Lynch, DVM, Cornell Univeristy PRO-DAIRY Program, Herd Health & Management Specialist

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Latest Dairy Market Watch

An educational newsletter to keep producers informed of changing market factors affecting the dairy industry. How to Read Dairy Market Watch. Dairy Market Watch -  July 2017

Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops - Cornell Cooperative Extension
Your Trusted Source for Research-Based Knowledge