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NY Beef Producer’s Association Annual Conference

**New Dates/Location — This year’s conference will be held on February 7-9, 2020, at the Embassy Suites Syracuse-Destiny USA.

1) Check out the schedule for the weekend here and send in your conference registration form by January 20th to avoid a late fee.

2) Don’t delay in booking your room — book by January 15th to receive our discounted group rate.

3) If you would like to take part in the Forage Sample hands-on session, your Forage Sample Submission Form must be sent to Dairy One by January 15th (to ensure they can process it and have the results for you at the conference).

For all information on this not to be missed conference go to

Save Date – Feb 26. Pro-Grassive Grazing Conference

Join fellow farmers at the 5th Annual Pro-Grassive 100% Grass-fed Dairy Grazing Conference Featuring Idaho Cattleman, Steve Campbell and Wisconsin Grass-fed Dairyman, Cheyenne Christianson.

To be held on Wednesday February 26th, 2020 at Theodore’s Restaurant, 3231 Seneca Turnpike (Rt. 5) in Canastota, N.Y. just a mile off the NYS Thruway Exit 34. The program is from 8am to 4pm with an organic lunch and a special free evening session from 6:30 to 8:30 pm that ties together the synergies of soil, plant, animal and human health.

$25 admission for first person with $20 for additional family members.

The annual sold-out event is brought to you by Pro-Cert, Maple Hill Creamery, Organic Valley Cooperative, Upstate Niagara, NOFA-NY, Agri-Dynamics and Madison County SWCD.

Registration coordinator is Jesse Hershberger (315) 684-7250 and the registration fee can be sent to 4503 East Milestrip Rd. Canastota, NY, 13032.

Feeder Auction results – Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange, Dec 21.

Compared to the last sale Number 1 Feeder Steers 300-600 lbs sold 4.00-6.00 higher. Number 1 Feeder Heifers 300-600 lbs sold 3.00-5.00 higher. Supply very light. Demand moderate. Supply included: 100% Feeder Cattle (31% Steers, 49% Heifers, 21% Bulls). Feeder cattle supply over 600 lbs was 19%.

Full report.

Additional NYS cattle auction prices can be found at:

(Funds to support the NYS Market News program come from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets project “Stocker cattle: Using underutilized grasslands to improve economic viability of the Southern Tier while providing viable careers for beginning farmers.”).

Winter Green-up 2020. Register now.

Come join us at our twelfth Winter Green-Up, Jan 25, 2020, the Capital District’s original grazing conference! Hear talks from grazing experts, get to know other farmers and enjoy a buffet luncheon featuring local, grass-fed meats.

Speakers for Winter Green-Up 2020 include Mike Baker (Cornell), Lexie Hain (Executive Director for the American Solar Grazing Association), Abe Collins (grazier, consultant and cofounder of LandStream, Inc.), and Diana Rodgers, RD, LDN (“real food” Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living on a working organic farm).

More information.

Register on-line.

Will-hay Nelson, “On the farm again”.

A little levity for your day. This was sent to me by my brother, Scott who is an extension agent in Bedford County, Virginia.

From Scott: A farmer here in my county has done hay bale creations each fall.  She outdid herself this year.  So much so, that Willie Nelson himself is sharing it on his social media.  Take a look at the music video this farmer and her friends did.  The farmer (Beth) and her two daughters appear at the very end of the video.


Will-Hay Nelson, On the farm again.

Reducing the Risk of Compaction When Grazing Cover Crops

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms & Livestock, (585) 315-7746

Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

October 31, 2019

The benefits of cover crops have been known for many years; one is remediating compaction. Cover is critical for soil health, reducing erosion, and scavenging nutrients. What about adding livestock? The first hurdle is fencing and water. Temporary or semi-permanent fencing can be set up relatively easily and taken down to get out of the way of equipment. Water demand will be less with cooler temperatures and the remainder needed can be hauled. Adding cover crop grazing can give permanent pastures a longer rest period before the next grazing season or help with that summer slump.

The predominant concern of grazing cover crops is soil compaction. A recent report from Practical Farmers of Iowa was published highlighting a four-year study looking at this issue. Two farm locations were used, both with conventional cash crops that partnered with nearby livestock farmers. The control was no cover crops and no livestock, the treatment was cover crops that were grazed. On both farms compaction was significantly less with cover crops and grazing treatment. The grazing periods were short for both fall and spring. Possibly a truer comparison would be to add a third scenario of cover crops with no grazing. Planning can work through a lot of the issues. Fall precipitation can make the process even more challenging.

Some points to ponder:

  • Remember the three – grasses, legumes, and forbs (broadleaves). Ideally, more than one of each type is in the mix.
  • Allow adequate growth of at least 8″ prior to grazing. This is two-fold – provides adequate forage plus sufficient root mass for cushioning.
  • The motto, “take half, leave half” still applies. Leave at least 4-5″ of residual.
  • Ideally, graze when ground is frozen or dry. Livestock will need to be moved to another area (sacrifice area, barnyard, etc.) with rain events over 0.5″, unless ample plant cover is there (over 2 tons DM/acre). Be aware of sorghums, sudan, and millets with frost and prussic acid. Some of these annuals may be frostkilled by the time you read this.
  • Cover crops are highly digestible; you may need to add some dry hay to slow digestion down. The right mix may balance fiber and protein.
  • Bloat may be a concern with winter wheat. Feed dry hay prior to putting livestock out for the first time.
  • If possible, move the livestock to a new paddock every one – two days. This helps reduce the risk of compaction while more evenly dispersing manure and urine.

The key to success is adaptation. A different type of grazing plan is needed for cover crop grazing. This would not have worked last year as it was too darn wet. Another challenge we face is we have less frozen ground through winter months. Livestock may do a great job of reducing heavy spring biomass if cover crops have grown too much. Let me know if you have any questions, or would like to show me you’ve made it work.

Additional resources to accompany Nancy Glazier’s November 2019 Ag Focus article “Reducing the Risk of Compaction When Grazing Cover Crops.”

Grazing Cover Crops: A How To Guide –

Grazing Cover Crops to Avoid Soil Compaction –

Soil Compaction in Grazed Cover Crop Fields –