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Disease Scouting and Dairy Farms – Week #4


As usual, this week consisted of a variety of tasks. Much of this week was spent gathering malting barley samples to send to the pathology lab at Cornell to be tested for diseases. Some fields in Livingston County had loose smut and powdery mildew, but we will have to wait until harvest to see how the much of an effect it will have on the crop. I’ve gotten to learn quite a bit about the trials of growing malting barley in New York States, most of the growers we have been working with are new at growing this crop. Interest in growing malting barley is increasing though, as it can fetch higher market prices than corn or wheat.

I was out on my own this week to help pull plant samples for the statewide soybean disease survey. I got my first practice in locating fields and scouting by myself! Pulling samples proved to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be since we had some pretty hard rains the night before, so what’s usually a nice walk through the fields was a struggle through the slippery mud! As my internship continues, I will be creating a Google Map to show each location that our team samples from and include pictures of the diseases that we’ve found in each location. This map is meant to be used a reference to the team and also to growers interested in learning to identify the diseases they may have in their fields

Aside from scouting, I attended a pasture walk at Maverick Farm, an organic dairy in Lockport, NY. Local farmers from the area gathered to hear about the grazing management practices that they use on the farm  and we also got to share a great lunch made by Tina Kowalowski, one of the owners. It was a great opportunity for other dairymen to learn from one another to find new ways for optimizing the health and efficiency of the cows on their farm. I really enjoyed being able to meet others who have family farms or have started their own farm, especially since its something I would like to do in the future!

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