May 6, 2012

Farm briefs: April 29, 2012


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Wine, cider tour offered at six locations

PLATTSBURGH — The regional commercial wine and cider makers come together a few times a year to provide the public with special days and promotions to encourage everyone to enjoy the unique flavor of the North Country.

For the Mother's Day weekend, six locations will offer wine and cider tastings and specials for mom at each tasting room. Designated drivers are encouraged.

The following locations are participating in this special Mother's Day Wine and Cider Tour:

Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, 9839 Route 9 Chazy, 215-4044,

The Champlain Wine Co., 8 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, 564-0064,

Everett Orchard, 1945 Military Turnpike Plattsburgh, 563-2438,

Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, 456 Soper St. Morrisonville, 643-0006,

Stone House Vineyard, 73 Blair Rd., Mooers, 493-5971,

Vesco Ridge Vineyards, 165 Stratton Hill Rd., West Chazy, 846-8544,

For more information and a flyer, visit or call The Champlain Wine Co. at 564-0064.

Cornell Small Dairy Team offers resources

PLATTSBURGH — The Cornell Small Dairy Team has released a series of six new resources to help small dairy farms. The team, whose members include farmers and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators, received a grant from the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2011 to provide new educational resources and tools to small-dairy producers.

"Small dairies have borne the brunt of the exodus of dairy farms from New York State. The goal of the project was to provide resources for dairies looking to adapt to ever-changing market factors," said Fay Benson, leader for the team.

The new resources and tools include:

Financial benchmarks for small dairies: Helps dairies identify the strengths and weaknesses of their farms compared to other farms of similar size in New York State.

Off-farm processing start-up fact sheet: Suggests first steps for dairy farmers considering adding direct sales of value-added dairy products to their business mix.

Web based geo-map: Shows all the small dairy processing plants in New York state.

Small dairy case studies: Highlights unique solutions of how four small dairy operators made decisions to keep their farms profitable.

Production record-keeping book for grazing dairies: Formatted and distributed to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) offices statewide by the Cornell Small Farms Program Small Dairy Team with printing funded by the New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. Books are available to grazing dairies at no cost through local CCE offices.

Organic dairy forage and grain survey: Due to fluctuating precipitation in 2011, many farms were short of forage and grain. This is particularly stressful to organic dairies since they have limited options for buying replacement feed.

To download, visit For further assistance, contact the local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or visit or contact Fay Benson, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County, 607-753-5213,

March milk production increases in state

ALBANY — New York dairy herds produced 1,138 million pounds of milk during March. Milk cows were unchanged, but production per cow was up from the previous year resulting in a 0.3 percent increase in milk production compared to March 2011. The number of milk cows averaged 610,000 head, unchanged from March of the previous year. Milk per cow averaged 1,865 pounds, up 55 pounds from the March 2011 rate.

Dairy farmers in the Empire State received an average of $18.10 per hundredweight of milk sold during March, down 90 cents from February and $3.20 less than March a year ago. Milk production in the 23 major states during March totaled 16.5 billion pounds, up 4.3 percent from March 2011. February revised production at 15.1 billion pounds, was up 8.2 percent from February 2011. The February revision represented a decrease of 13 million pounds, or 0.1 percent, from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Conservation Committee bestows award

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Steve Mahoney has received New York's highest honor for outstanding dedication and continued excellence in the promotion and support of conservation in New York state.

The Willard F. Croney Award was presented to Mahoney by the New York State Conservation District Employees Association at the organization's annual conference held in Auburn in March. New York's 58-county Soil and water Conservation Districts have more than 300 employees statewide and Mahoney is one of only 28 recipients of this award, which was established in 1983 in honor New York soil and water conservation pioneer Bill Croney.

Mahoney retired from Clinton County Soil & Water Conservation District in April. His work and dedication will be remembered by many in the community as well as throughout New York State, Vermont and Quebec.

Study completed on invasive crop pest

PLATTSBURGH — Cornell entomologist Dr. Elson Shields and the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program have battled an invasive farm crop pest since 1989.

In April, they posted the definitive guide to raising and applying native nematodes (microscopic worms) to control destructive alfalfa snout beetles at

More than 13 percent, 500,000 acres in nine counties of New York farmland, has been infested.

ASB has walked or "hitchhiked" on equipment and transport vehicles to reach new locations from Oswego to Cayuga, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties. ASB is also transported by flowing water when it balls up into groups of 30 to 40 individuals that float with the current. ASB is also known to exist in Ontario, Canada.

ASB can destroy entire fields of the valuable dairy and livestock crop in one growing season. ASB-related crop damage can be as much as $1,100 to $1,500 per acre.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Northern New York are educating alfalfa growers across the region about the use of two species of native insect-attacking nematodes as biological control agents.

A joint project is selectively breeding ASB-resistant alfalfa varieties to work in tandem with the biocontrol nematodes to battle the beetle. At least one Cornell-bred ASB-resistant alfalfa variety is in the early stages of commercial seed production.