Farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program research and technical assistance projects focused on livestock production and marketing help regional farmers capitalize on increasing consumer interest in local foods. A 2014 survey documented that success, indicating 96% of responding NNY cow-calf, stocker & cattle feeder farmers would expand (60%) or maintain (36%) current operations.
Pasture Management: Rising Plate Meter Increases Grazing Efficiency
A Northern New York Agricultural Development Program grant has made two Rising Plate Meters (RPM) available to regional livestock and dairy farmers for measuring pasture growth and regrowth during grazing seasons to assist paddock sizing and pasture use for optimum feed value.
One beef stocker adjusted his pasture plan when the RPM showed less dry matter value than “eyeballed;” 3 cow-calf farms used the RPM to develop grazing wedges to reduce overgrazing and improve paddock sequencing.
Long-Term Project Value for North Country Communities
The Livestock Marketing Toolkit, developed with funding from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program in 2006, continues to help North Country beef, sheep and goat producers price, promote and profit from their products. The updated edition online has
links to articles and resources.
Enhancing Sheep and Goat Health
Sheep numbers in Northern New York grew by nearly 36% per 2007-2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture data, while goat numbers remained fairly stable. To assist the sustainability and growth of the regional small livestock industry, farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funding has focused on a variety of methods to increase parasite control for enhanced goat and sheep health.
Recent field trials hosted by Northern New York farms tested the use of birdsfoot trefoil pasturing for anthelmintic (deworming) effect. Technical assistance helped farmers properly establish plots of the perennial legume and measure its biomass dry matter value. Researchers, encouraged by preliminary results, continue to evaluate the impact of the pasturing strategy on wormload and the health of the pastured sheep and goats.
Research participant and farm owner Beth Downing of Downing Acres in Burke, NY, notes the role of the regionalized research in her farm business management strategy: “Sheep farming is our livelihood and parasites can take a heavy toll on breeding ewes and on weight gain in lambs. We use a combination of strategies to keep our sheep healthy and control parasites, including . . . participating in research to learn new ways.”
To receive notices of the real-world project results from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, text 315-408-2841 or send email with Subject Line: NNYADP Results to email@example.com and add to your approved senders.