Three events hosted by the Cornell Organic Dairy Program will help organic growers and livestock farmers enhance weed management, dairy business operations, and livestock grazing efficiency and profitability. Registration is requested. Each event has a $5 charge for lunch. To register, call Steph at 607-391-2662 or email Abbie at [email protected] for all events.
On Wednesday, February 21, Weed Control in Organic Field Crop Systems will be presented from 11 am to 2 pm at the McLean Fire Hall, 2 Stevens Road, McLean, NY. Matthew Ryan, Ph.D., agroecologist, and assistant professor at Cornell’s Sustainable Cropping System Lab, Ithaca, NY, will discuss crop rotation, cover crops, and other cultural weed management practices. His work has included studies using cover crops for organic no-till soybean production, perennial grains, and climate change adaptation.
An organic farmer panel at the February 21 event will include Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Farmer Number 01 Tony Potenza of Trumansburg with a long history of organic field crop experience; Peter Mapstone, who works with his son Jeremy to grow forage and grain to feed their 300-cow organic dairy in Manlius, NY; and Phil Stauderman of Genoa, NY, who raises organic crops for his son Karl’s dairy and to sell.
On Tuesday, March 20, a 10am-1 pm farm tour at Smith’s Tre G Farm, 8183 US Route 20, in Manlius, NY, includes a look at paddocks designed by Kirk Smith to make grazing and the use of two Lely Robotic milkers compatible. At lunch, the Smith family will relate their experience of transitioning to organic dairy production in challenging times. The Smiths transitioned their 130-cow dairy to organic production over the past three years and now ship milk to the farmer-owned Organic Valley cooperative.
On Thursday, March 29, Are Your Robbing Your Pastures to Feed Your Livestock will be the question for two noted grazing and grass-fed consultants at Dryden Fire Hall, 26 North Street, Dryden, NY. The 12-2:30 pm program begins with lunch followed by presentations by Altfrid Krusenbaum, a Wisconsin-based grazing consultant helping grazing dairy and beef farmers, and Cleason Horst of Friendly Blends soil amendments in Canandaigua, NY.
Krusenbaum will discuss organically managing pastures on his 470-acre farm to generate profit. After operating a grazing dairy for several years, he now raises grass-fed, grass-finished beef; hay; and small grains. He worked for several years with the Natural Resources Conservation Services as a Certified Grazing Planner, and currently serves with the national Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program.
Horst will talk about the depletion of soil fertility in pastures and how farmers can identify this by understanding soil lab reports. He has experience with pastures from which there were only withdrawals and no deposits to the soil bank account long-term. Horst will describe how he reads a soil test to prioritize recommendations for re-investing nutrients into soil as the most important resource on the farm.
For more information on the Cornell Organic Dairy Program, contact Fay Benson with the Cornell South Central NY Dairy Team at [email protected]