Local News

June 16, 2013

Farm briefs: June 16, 2013

Area has new field crops, soils specialist

CANTON — Kitty O’Neil has begun traveling Northern New York as regional field crops and soils specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension. She will be working with farmers in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties.

O’Neil grew up on a dairy farm in Cayuga County. She holds an animal science degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Forages and Dairy Nutrition from Michigan State. 

In Michigan, she helped potato growers improve their production systems and make them more sustainable. She recently earned a Ph.D. there after conducting several years of research with those potato growers, examining impacts of tillage, cover crops, manure amendments and crop rotations on soil health and productivity. 

“I’m eager to apply my efforts to helping Northern New York growers and farmers adopt practices which will reduce risk and production costs while increasing efficiency and livelihoods. From conversations with farmers and other extension personnel, I can already see opportunities to work on hayfield and pasture quality, forage planning and inventory estimations and alternative forage production to reduce risks,” O’Neil said.

“Fall 2013 forage inventories may continue to be affected by the 2012 shortages, though I hope that impact is slight. Only time and weather patterns will determine what is in the barn, silo and bunk at the conclusion of 2013, but I’d like to work with producers now to optimize that potential,” she added.

O’Neil can be reached through the local extension office or CCE St. Lawrence County at 315-379-9192.

Tile drainage research in region being studied

CHAZY — In 2013, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) is funding research to evaluate the agricultural benefits and environmental impacts of using tile drainage on farms.

The use of tile drainage has been a critical best-management practice on American farms since 1835. In the early 1900s, William H. Miner, for whom the agricultural research institute in Chazy is named, championed the use of patterned tile drainage to dramatically improve drainage efficiency and crop production potential on poorly drained North Country soils.

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