May 4, 2009
I have been learning all about grazing and grazing systems for livestock both large and small. I’m working with farms to develop grazing plans, building high tensile fences and many other things. I’m learning about sustainable farming and how grazing can improve the quality of the land and water. I will also be learning how grazing can mitigate the use of pesticides for row crops.
May 6, 2009
Today I learned more about and helped out with the Bounty Program, a local food delivery service for the residents of Chenango and Madison County and the surrounding area. For the consumer it is a convenient way of getting fresh food. For the farmer it is access to a market that otherwise would be difficult to tap. The mission of Chenango & Madison Bounty is to support local farmers and producers by creating new markets for locally produced foods, thereby strengthening the local economy and providing healthy food to all citizens of the Greater Chenango & Madison County communities in an environmentally responsible way
June 1, 2009, 6:52 pm
I love watching cows graze! The cows eat about the top third of this grass in the first bite. If they do take a second or third bite, they will look for a spot with clover or a part that isn’t as stemmy. This grass is a bit more mature than you would typically want to graze, unless you were willing to step up the stock density ALOT. I have read and observed that when you push cows up into a high stock density that their grazing behavior is different. They seem to be less picky about what they eat. The trouble is, if you are going to graze that way, it necessitates a number of moves at short intervals… so you have to move the fencing wire every few hours or so.
June 6, 2009
Today I drove out to Greene County for a Workshop on Silvopasture - the practice of grazing in the woods. At the workshop, Mick Bessier of Green County Cooperative Extension, talked about the different ways to integrate livestock production and the production of timber and how they two work synergistically. The livestock can fertilize the stand of trees as well as keep the understorey clear. The strategies for grazing in the woods are different than grazing in open fields, for shaded areas require a longer rest period. Some stands are only grazed down once per season. Goats can be used to girdle trees that are less desirable to thin out the stand. The woods are more suited for sheep and goats than cattle. Another method that was discussed was called Alley Cropping… where you are essentially planting trees in rows to create a shaded pasture system. I find this all to be very interesting.
August 14, 2009
Tuesday and Wednesday I went to Empire Farm Days in Seneca Falls, NY. Community outreach at its finest! I manned the Grazinglands Conservation Initiative booth. I met with farmers and other members of the community, talking about grazing and promoting the Graze-A-Palooza II coming up in September. I took a break to check out the SwitchGrass demonstration. For more information about the switchgrass for biofuels, check out http://www.grassbioenergy.org
August 20, 2009
On occasion I get asked to get my hands dirty and do some actual “work.” The job was to bury a waterline on a farm. This organic farmer near the town of Georgetown in Madison County was having the water system put in to be able to water his cows in pastures further away from the barn. Before this the farmer would drive a “water-wagon” with large totes filled with water up the hill and attach a water tank to the wagon. This required following the cows out with the tractor whenever they were grazing out on that side of the farm.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Troy Bishopp, aka the grasswhisperer, and SCA
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