Save the Date! New York Soil Health Summit

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Time: TBD
Location: Empire State Plaza, Downtown Albany, NY

Save the date for the first New York Soil Health Summit. This event, organized by the New York Soil Health project, is for farmers, researchers, agriculture service providers, government agencies, non-profits and policy-makers interested in advancing soil health efforts across the state.

Topics include:

  • Local experts/grower panel
  • Research and policies relevant to soil health
  • Soil Health Roadmap breakout sessions

Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with colleagues and contribute critical feedback to the NY Soil Health Roadmap.

Registration, summit agenda, and other details will be coming soon.

For more information at this time, contact David Wolfe ( or Aaron Ristow (

More information about the project:

Summit details will be updated here:

New York Soil Health is funded through New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.

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Cornell Organic Dairy Program Sets Weed Control, Farm Tour, Pasturing Events

Ithaca, NY. 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 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

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New York Certified Organic Sets 2018 Winter Program Series: Crop Rotations, Quality Forage Harvest, Pastured Hogs, Farm Startup on Agenda

Dairy and crop growers from across New York State gather for the annual NY Certified Organic Winter Meeting series. Photo: NYCO

New York Certified Organic, NYCO, has announced its 2018 series of Winter Meetings with a January 9 session on crop rotations with a presentation on, February 13 focus on harvesting quality forage, and a March 13 spotlight on adding pastured hogs to a diversified dairy or crop business and general farm start-up opportunities.

The free-to-attend NYCO meetings begin at 10 AM in Jordan Hall at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, 630 West North Street, in Geneva, NY, and provide organic crop growers and dairy farmers together with the opportunity to hear speakers and network. There is no need to register for meetings. Participants are asked to bring a dish to pass at the potluck lunch.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018: Crop Rotations

The Tuesday, January 9 Crop Rotations topic was requested by a number of farmers attending the 2017 NYCO meetings in 2017. The program will cover how farmers select the rotations that fit the financial needs, environmental concerns, and weed pressures of their farms. The program includes a representative from Kings AgriSeeds presenting on how they see farmers selecting rotations; a review by Fay Benson of an organic field crop growers survey by the NY Organic Dairy Program, and a farmer panel.

Also on January 9, Dr. Joshua Woodard, founder of, a live open data, open source data integration and automation platform, and farmer Luke Gianforte of Gianforte Farm, Cazenovia, NY, will offer a presentation on how to use an online tool for managing field and crop data.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018: Harvesting Quality Forage

Harvesting quality forage year after year is the topic of the February 13 NYCO meeting. The challenges of the drought of 2016 followed by the wet spring of 2017 have many farmers wondering how to develop resiliency in their forage system. Invited speakers include Tom Kilcer of Advanced Ag Systems, on his new work adding resiliency to rotations through double cropping and multi-use cover crops.

Also on February 13, Cornell Horticulture Professor Dr. Thomas Björkman will show research on planting dates and when to include clover in cover crops, and Dr. Heather Darby from the University of Vermont will share details on forage and small grain research she has recently conducted in northern Vermont.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018: Adding Pastured Hogs to Diversified Dairy or Crop Farm; Farm Start-Up Opportunities

The March 13 NYCO meeting will cover two topics. Rodale Institute Farm Manager Ross Duffield will provide an overview of current projects at Rodale and present a how-to talk on how Rodale incorporated hogs into its farming system and the multiple benefits of doing so. A panel of three organic dairy farmers will share how they have used social investment capital to help their farming business, and representatives from Dirt Capital Partners and Iroquois Valley Farms REIT will be on hand to outline the opportunities they offer farms.

The New York Crop Insurance Education Team and Cornell Cooperative Extension provide support for the NYCO meetings. There will be a brief description of how Crop Insurance can benefit organic farmers at each of the three NYCO 2018 Winter Meetings.

NYCO winter meetings have grown from a gathering of six organic grain producers in the Martens Farms farmhouse kitchen in 1994 to filling the auditorium at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. More than 300 farmers attended NYCO meetings in 2017. For more information, contact Fay Benson at 607-391-2669 or Information on previous NYCO meetings is posted at

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Field Demos Expanded, Irrigated Crops at 2017 Empire Farm Days

Seneca Falls, NY.  Visitors to the August 8-10, 2017 Empire Farm Days at Rodman Lott and Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY, will experience more equipment and expanded demos at the show that is the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the northeastern U.S.

With leadership from Morrisville State College this year, the field demos have a renewed focus on big iron operating in real-time field conditions, says Empire Farm Days Manager Melanie Wickham.

The daily Cover Crops Field Demonstration Tour with King’s AgriSeeds and Seedway at 10:30 am will show cool and warm season cover crop species and mixes with a discussion on best seeding methods, timing, and purposes.

A new Demo Tram at the show is dedicated to carrying visitors to the field demos area.

The field demo and crop tour schedule for the 2017 Empire Farm Days is as follows:
All day:  Tours to irrigation field unit from Lot 522
10 am to 2 pm:  Test drive applicators, trucks, tractors, construction equipment, UTVs
10:30 am:  Hay mowing demonstration
10:30 am:  Cover crops field demonstration tour
11:30 am:  Hay merging and chopping demonstration
12:30 pm:  Tillage and GPS field demonstration
1:30 pm:    Hay baling demonstration
2:30 pm:    Hay handling.

Empire Farm Days show hours are 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday; admission is $10 per vehicle. For more information on exhibits, seminars, live animal demonstration, farm safety and other presentations at the show, see or call 1-877-697-7837.

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Soil Health Center: Farmer Panels, Keynote and More at 2017 Empire Farm Days

The New York State Working Group for Improved Soil Health has announced a full schedule of activities for the Soil Health Center at the August 8, 9 and 10 Empire Farm Days at Rodman Lott and Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY.

Activities include daily USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service presentations, farmer panel discussions, cover crop field plot tours, a Wednesday-only keynote presentation with conservation biologist and invertebrate ecologist Carmen Greenwood, lunch sponsored by King’s AgriSeeds, and daily raffles of soil health tests from the Cornell Soil Health Lab and Dairy One and cover crop seed from Seedway.

The Tuesday, August 8 schedule includes:
. 9:30 am: Fertilizer, Manure and Nutrient Management, and Cycling in Cover Cropping and Reduced Tillage Systems with USDA NRCS Northeast Regional Soil Health Specialist Jim Hoorman, Findlay, OH

. 10:30 am: Empire Farm Days Cover Crops Field Demonstration Tour

. 11:30 am: Fertilizer and Nutrient Management in Cover Crops and Reduced Tillage Systems Farmer Panel with Jim Hershey, Hershey Farms, Elizabethtown, PA; Steve Cuddeback, Cuddeback Farms, Skaneateles, NY; John Kemmeren, Angel Rose Dairy, Bainbridge, NY; and moderator Janice Degni, Cornell SCNY Dairy and Field Crops Team Leader.

Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance President Jim Hershey has practiced no-till for more than 25 year and uses a five-way cover crop mix on his 600-acre livestock and grain farm in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In 2016, Steve Cuddeback, an advocate for high calcium lime application with minimal tillage techniques to increase yields over time, harvested record yields of no-till soybeans and zone-tilled corn grain on this 800-acre cash crop farm. John Kemmeren has practiced no-till for 40 years, no-tilling 750 acres of corn, hay and pasture at his 750-acre dairy farm.

The Wednesday, August 9 schedule includes:
. 9:30 am: Preventing, Reducing and Mitigating Compaction and Its Impact on Soil Health and Crop Production with USDA NRCS Northeast Regional Soil Health Specialist Jim Hoorman, Findlay, OH

. 10:30 am: Empire Farm Days Cover Crops Field Demonstration Tour

. 11:30 am: Avoiding or Reducing Compaction Using Cover Crops, Reduced Tillage Systems and Other Management Strategies Farmer Panel with Janette Veazey-Post, Lamb Farms, Inc., Oakfield, NY; Joe Brightly, Brightly Farms, LLC, Hamlin, NY; Scott Potter, Dairy Support Services, Cortland, NY; Brad Macauley, Merrimac Farms Inc., Mount Morris, NY; and moderator Paul Salon, USDA NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist.

Janette Veazey-Post co-manages a 12,000-acre progressive dairy farm, growing mostly strip-tilled corn and alfalfa. WNY Soil Health Alliance board member Joe Brightly grows grains, fresh and processing vegetables, and apples using strip tillage, cover crops and cover crop mixes, plus an interseeder he built for 2017. Since 1994, Scott Potter has provided forage production and application services to CNY dairy farms: 120 million gallons of manure per year, planting 1700 acres of corn, and harvesting 8000 acres of corn and haylage. Brad Macauley uses minimum till, cover cropping and double cropping to feed dairy cows and grow vegetable crops.

. 2:00 pm: Keynote Presentation and Demonstration: The Living Soil with Conservation Biologist Carmen Greenwood, SUNY Cobleskill

Dr. Carmen Greenwood will show how live soil-dwelling invertebrates, primarily soil mites, serve in vital ecosystem roles, provide conservation benefits, and act as indicators of soil health. Dr. Greenwood is an associate professor of entomology at SUNY Cobleskill and a member of the New York State Pollinator Task Force.

The Thursday, August 10 schedule includes:
. 9:30 am: Utilizing Soil Health Practices in Vegetable Cropping Systems with Dr. Thomas Bjorkman, Associate Horticulture Professor, Cornell University

. 10:30 am: Empire Farm Days Cover Crops Field Demonstration Tour

. 11:30 am: Utilizing Soil Health Practices in Vegetable Cropping Systems Farmer Panel with Josh Jurs, Kreher’s Farms, Clarence, NY; Dan Henry, W.D. Henry and Sons Farms, Eden, NY; Kurt Forman, Clearview Farms, Palmyra, NY; and moderator Darcy Telenko, Cornell Extension Vegetable Specialist.

Kreher’s Farm Crop Manager Josh Jurs is currently updating his 3000 organic acre cover crop program to incorporate different species to target a balance of soil health and biology and sustainability. Dan Henry’s soil health practices at W.D. Henry and Sons’ 400-acre fresh market vegetable farm include planned crop rotations and cover crops. Kurt Forman of certified organic Clearview Farm builds his wide variety of soils using cover crops, composted manure, and crop rotation, helping to control weeds and insect pests, and reducing the cost of nitrogen fertilizer.

Other features of the Soil Health Center at the 2017 Empire Farm Days include:
. Soil Health Work Group members with soil health literature, table top demonstrations and rainfall simulations illustrating how different management practices impact soil-water interaction;
. USDA NRCS soil scientists demonstrating the Web Soil Survey to print soil maps for producers;
.  demonstrations of the cell phone Soil Web App that allows you to view soils at your current location;
. USDA NRCS Conservation Client Gateway demonstrations for producers; and
. the New York Soil Health Trailer.

The Soil Health Center at Empire Farm Days is a cooperative effort of the New York State Soil Health Work Group comprised  of USDA NRCS, conservation districts, state government agencies, educational institutions, the Cornell University Soil Health program, cooperative extension, non-governmental organizations, farmers, private consultants, and agribusinesses working towards developing innovative solutions to improve soil health and raising awareness of soil health concepts by producers and ag service providers. For more information, contact Paul Salon at 607-562-8404 x 103,

The Soil Health Center at Empire Farm Days was established in 2015 as a permanent site for soil health programming at the annual event that is the largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the northeastern U.S.

Empire Farm Days show hours are Tuesday-Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm and Thursday 9 am to 4 pm. Parking is $10 per vehicle. Visit or call 877-697-7837 for more details.

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Aurora Farm Field Day in Photos

Over 140 growers, agronomists, extension educators, industry reps, students, and staff joined faculty experts at the annual Aurora Farm Field Day to learn about the latest in Field Crops research.

Hosted by the Integrated Field Crops Program Work Team, the event featured presentations ranging from comparison of organic vs conventional management of field crops to integrated wheat management of diseases in malting barley and everything field crops related in-between.

Many thanks to all who attended and assisted in making the program a success in spite of tremendous downpours!

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Hay and The 2016 New York State Fair

By J. Hansen, J. Lawrence, S. Flis and N. Weber

Following a dry summer in 2016, 40 bales were entered in the 2016 State Fair Hay Contest. Hay was entered from farms in Alton, Auburn, Bainbridge, Brooktondale, Cazenovia, Central Square, Croghan, Fulton, LaFayette, Moravia, Pompey, Richfield Springs, Sodus, and Tully. Hay was entered in one of nine Conventional Hay Classes or one of seven Organic Hay Classes.

Hay was judged based on the physical characteristics (50 points: molding/odor, foreign material, maturity, leaf retention, color) and on forage lab analyses (50 points: dry matter, crude protein, fiber, fiber digestibility). Physical score averaged 39 points and the Chemical score averaged 37. The grand and reserve champion bales for conventional and organic had a physical score average of 46 and a chemical score average of 46.

Thanks to all who entered hay bales in this contest and congratulations to the winners. Please consider entering your hay this year in August ( Thanks to DairyOne for analyzing the hay samples. Thanks to John Sinkovitz and Jasmine Umrigar for assisting the judges and organizing the hay.

For 2017, a $10.00 exhibitor’s fee and form must be sent no later than July 28. Individual classes may be entered or changed until August 22.

Figure 1: Results of the Hay Judging Contest. Hay classes were 1=first cut alfalfa, 2=first cut alfalfa acid treated, 3=alfalfa later cuttings, 4=alfalfa later cuttings acid treated, 5=first cut alfalfa grass mixture, 6=later cut alfalfa grass mixture, 7=first cut grass, 8=later cut grass, 9=other, 107=Organic first cut grass, 108=Organic late cut grass, 109 = Organic Other.
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NYS IPM Weekly Field Crops Pest Report – June 29, 2017