February 12, 2012

Farm briefs: Feb. 12, 2012


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Registration set for pest-management training

CHAZY — Cornell Cooperative Extension Field Crops educators Mike Hunter with CCE Jefferson County, Joe Lawrence with CCE Lewis County, Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm Manager Michael Davis, and W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Agronomist Eric Young will be offering two field-crop pest-management training programs at Northern New York locations in March.

The Pest Management: Part I program on Thursday, March 1, will cover Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principals, scouting, insect identification, insect management and disease management.

The Pest Management: Part II program on Thursday, March 8, will cover weed identification, weed life cycles and sprayer operation and calibration.

Through videoconferencing, each of the programs will be offered on the same day at all sites as follows:

Thursday, March 1: Chazy, W.H. Miner Institute; register with CCE Essex County, 962-4810; Malone, Mo's Pub & Grill; register with CCE Franklin County at 315-483-7403. Thursday, March 8: Chazy, W.H. Miner Institute, register with CCE Essex County, 962-4810; Malone, Mo's Pub & Grill, register with CCE Franklin County, 315-483-7403.

The cost of the training is $30 per person per week. The training may qualify for New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Pesticide Credits and Certified Crop Advisor credits (3 credits per week are pending approval). Register with the local CCE for one or both programs one week before the program date.

This training is part of the new Northern New York Crops Management School offered by the Northern New York Dairy Institute made possible with funding from the New York Center for Dairy Excellence and Cornell PRO-DAIRY program. The school is managed by the Cornell Cooperative Extensions of Northern New York.

Water-withdrawal reporting date approaching

ALBANY — Wednesday, Feb. 15, is a key date for New York's farmers to report water usage to the Department of Environmental Conservation or face more stringent regulations moving forward.

Under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last August, a state permit is required for water withdrawals that meet or exceed 100,000 gallons per day. Farmers who fall under this law and report their usage by Feb. 15 will receive an exemption from the permit requirements. Anyone who reports after that date will lose this important opportunity.

"Contrary to what people may have heard, farms of all sizes that use an average of 100,000 gallons of water per day or anticipate doing so in the future for any 30-day period must report their water usage to the DEC by this coming Tuesday, Feb. 15, and annually thereafter," said Dean Norton president of New York Farm Bureau.

"There is no cost to report water usage, and while all of us dislike paperwork, investing a few minutes in reporting now will save you a lot of time and energy later."

For additional information and to access water-reporting forms, visit DEC's water-reporting page at

Farm Bureau applauds pro-farm legislation

ALBANY — The New York State Senate has unanimously adopted two important pieces of legislation for New York's farmers, according to New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton.

The new rules would allow greater public access to observe the maple-syrup making process and would allow silvopasturing (grazing of livestock on wooded land) to be recognized as a legitimate use of wooded land for the purposes of agriculture land assessments.

"New York's maple industry is large and growing," Norton said. "More than 1,500 maple-syrup producers made more than 362,000 gallons of syrup in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service."

The law will give maple producers the ability to grow the agri-tourism portion of their business by opening their establishments to a public eager to better understand and observe the process of syrup production.

The other measure deals with silvopasturing. This is a process where wooded land is used for animal grazing, promoting conservation and sustainability.

A loophole under the state's Ag and Markets law does not allow such land to be eligible for agricultural assessment for property-tax purposes. However, such land used for the production of timber products or wood is eligible. The new bill clarifies the current law to make it clear that silvopasturing is in fact eligible as part of a farmer's agriculture assessment.

Norton said he is looking forward to working with Assembly sponsors to ensure the bills also pass the house and become law soon.

Owens introduces apple-export bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Bill Owens (NY-23) has introduced legislation that would streamline U.S. apple exports to Canada by exempting bulk shipments of apples to Canada from inspection under the Apple Export Act.

"New York apple growers play a large role in the economic development and food security of our region, and this exemption will allow them to continue their contribution to New York's economic recovery," Owens said. "I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to ensure that the New York apple industry receives full support from Congress to remove this burdensome regulation."

According to the New York Apple Association, the elimination of the required inspection would immediately offer a savings to growers of approximately $300 per truckload. Additionally, removing this regulation would allow apple growers to distribute their products on their own schedule without working around costly after-hours inspections procedures, providing them the opportunity to save money and streamline operations.

Last year, more than 1.5 million bushels of New York apples were exported to Canada. At about 1,000 bushels per truck and 1,500 trucks exporting apples to Canada annually, this amounts to a savings of about $450,000 for New York apple exporters.

Currently, the Department of Agriculture requires the inspection of all apple exports under the Apple and Pear Export Act of 1933. In 1999, the law was changed to exclude pears.

Herbicide-resistant weeds a threat

ALBANY — A New Council for Agriculture, Science and Technology (CAST) issue paper examines the impact of certain weed-management practices on soil-conservation objectives and addresses ways to mitigate negative effects.

The balance between conservation tillage and herbicide-resistant (HR) weed management is the central issue addressed in the paper.

"The fundamental conflict facing many producers with HR weed-management issues today is the choice between using tillage or land stewardship practices that protect soil and water resources," the paper states.

A few of the paper's conclusions are as follows:

▶ Soil conservation is threatened by HR weeds.

▶ Growers are including and intensifying tillage practices because of HR weeds.

▶ Education programs are needed to show how HR weeds can be managed without losing recent conservation gains.

▶ More research is necessary regarding HR weed management and soil conservation goals.

The full text may be accessed free on the CAST website at along with many of CAST's other scientific publications. The paper also is available in hard copy for a shipping and handling fee.

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies and nonprofit organizations. It assembles, interprets and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector and the public.

Soybean variety trial data available

PLATTSBURGH — The results of soybean field trials conducted by Cornell University Crop and Soil Sciences Professor William J. Cox at Robbins Farms in Sackets Harbor are now available to help growers deciding which varieties to plant in 2012.

"Soybeans are an increasing attractive crop for northern growers. The climate in Northern New York is no longer too cool to produce soybeans, so mid-season (Group I) varieties are adapted to most of Northern New York and early Group II varieties can mature if planted early near the lake," Cox said.

Cox points to the 659,000 acres of soybeans grown in Quebec and more than 100,000 acres of soybeans grown in Ontario between New York's northern border and Ottawa in 2010 as evidence of the adaptability of soybeans in northern regions.

"If global warming continues over the next several decades, Northern New York may well prove to be the ideal location rather than a marginal region for soybean production," Cox said.

Cox also notes that the high price of soybean meal has more dairy farmers looking to grow their own soybeans and process them in an on-farm or local custom roaster.

"Soybeans are a low-input crop — you plant, spray once or twice, and harvest. This makes soybeans an attractive crop from a labor management perspective, especially on smaller dairy operations," Cox said.

The current high price for soybeans make it an attractive cash crop.

The 2011 Soybean Variety Trials for Northern New York data is available from Cornell Cooperative Extension and online at

2011 saw the wettest April-May period ever recorded at the Watertown Airport, five miles from the variety trial at Robbins Farms. The trial planting was delayed until June 3rd. The wet period was followed by the fifth warmest June-September in the area and the third wettest August-September period.

"Although the 2011 growing season in Northern New York was challenging, the trials produced very good soybean yields — 56 bushels per acre average yield for Group I varieties and 53 bushels per acre average yields for Group II," Cox says.

"If the current price remains at $11 per bushel, I would expect soybean acreage in New York, including Northern New York, to increase in 2012," he adds.

The trials were partially supported by Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station funding.