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Week # 3 With Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team

The third week on the job has flown by, since each day has offered a different experience! At the beginning of the week Bill Verbeten and I traveled to farms along the border of Lake Ontario and New York to help set up Western Bean Cutworm traps. We traveled across Monroe, Orleans, and Niagra County. The traps are used monitor the cutworm populations and make a regional threshold growers. WIth a regional threshold the growers in western New York will have a better indicator for when they should implement management practices to control this particular pest. The traps will be monitored weekly to check populations and also associate the cutworms presence in the field with the growth stage of the corn. Then, at the end of the season I will be in charge of creating a Google map with the locations and weekly photos of the traps as a reference to those who would like to access information more information about our study.

During my third week, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to attend a team meeting at the Ontario County office with the Northwest Dairy Livestock and Field Crops Team. This was quite fun since it was the first time I was able to see the whole team together. I really enjoyed being able to have a better understanding of how the team functions as a whole.

In the middle of the week, I attended a Holistic Farm Management workshop with Nancy Glazier, the teams small farms specialist. The workshop was organized for local Amish and Mennonite dairy farmers who supply milk for Organic Valley dairy products. Ian Mitchell Innes, a well known South African advocate for holistic grazing management, led the workshop. We toured two different farms to see what plant species were growing in different pastures and discussed potential grazing management plans for the dairy cows. With Ian’s system, the cows should ideally be moving around the pastures at a much faster rate than is typically recommended and should only consume the top third of the plant. This would stimulate the thickening of grassy material in the pasture and also keep the cows full and continuously eating. Since new fresh feed would be presented to them on a regular basis, they would be more likely to eat more. At the end of the day, this method would help the cows to produce more milk and also keep the health of the pastures at its full potential.

Later in the week Bill and I scouted some corn and soybean fields, then also attended a meeting with German Seed company KWS. We met up with Stephan Bruns, the senior breeder for KWS. He oversees variety trials  of the barley breeding programs and oversees breeding research with KWS seed that done is by Cornell. We also met with Ken Davis, the North American breeder and discussed the potential of successfully growing malting barley along with the potential for building up a regional market here in New York State.

Everything wrapped up on Friday with a meeting at a feed corn flaking facility with Nancy Glazier and a bit more barley scouting with Mike Stanyard. Mike and I checked out a couple of fields in Yates and Seneca County and pulled out samples to send to the lab back at Cornell for disease testing. We both learned something new as we found ourselves in a field of barely that seemed a little different from all the rest. It wasn’t long before we found out that it was actually Einkorn wheat, which looks extremely similar to 2-row malting barley!

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