George Hamilton on calibrating air blast sprayers.
NH Extension Field Specialist George Hamilton described why and how to calibrate air blast sprayers. Hamilton spoke at the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) headquarters in Warwick, RI. Hamilton said his Extension office received a calibrating tool thanks to the New England Vegetable & Fruit Growers Association.
Like every pesticide label advises, Hamilton urged farmers and growers to calibrating their sprayer regularly. This will ensure effective, efficient, economical and legal spraying. Poor spray results is generally caused by poor spray coverage. Overuse of some sprays can lead to unhealthy residues and/or fines.
Hamilton recommends calibrating equipment at the beginning and middle of every growing year – at the minimum. A fresh calibration is needed whenever changing nozzles, operating pressure and/or tractor or trailer wheels. New tractor tires can affect the speed (and tachometer) 10 to 20 percent. [Learn more here.]
Posted in Agriculture, Environmental Issues, Food, Horticulture, Produce, Recent Posts, Vegetables
Tagged Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry, business, Calibration, farming, food, New England, Plant nursery, Portsmouth Nursery, Sprayer, UNH, UNH Cooperative Extension, United States
Typical dairy farm energy usage
Diary operations use the most energy of most types of farmers. These farmers can save energy and money in many areas : milking, milk cooling and water heating. Upgrading older equipment and installing new technologies increase operational efficiency. Energy audits help identify opportunities for savings.
Equipment upgrades pay for themselves quickly through energy savings, especially when replacing old inefficient equipment. Dairy farmers can save energy with variable speed drives (VSD) for milk vacuum pumps and heat recovery systems to quickly cool milk while using waste heat to warm washing or animal water. Cows love to drink warm water. [Read more here.]
Posted in Uncategorized, Food, Agriculture, Livestock
Tagged farmer, dairy, milk, dairy farm, Energy, cattle, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Green Technology Dairy Energy Efficiency Farming Green Technology Milk, Andy Pressman, NCAT, energy efficiency, vacuum pump, variable speed motors
Ocean State Hops
Ocean State Hops brought hops farming back to Rhode Island. Brother-in-laws and co-owners, Joel Littlefield and Matt Richardson liked brewing hoppy homebrews and started growing their own hops in 2007. Since 2010, their ever-expanding hop yard allowed the team to offer excess hops to home brewers.
Since 2012 the Coastal Extreme Brewery, brewer of Newport Storm Beers, has been purchasing all of Ocean State Hops’ Chinook hops for their India Pale Ale. (Learn more here.)
Ocean State Hops is the only hops farm in RI, growing hops in Exeter. The hop yard expands each year and now has over 400 American hops plants in three varieties: Cascade, Chinook and Newport hops. [Read more here.]
Posted in Agriculture, Recent Posts
Tagged Brewing, Cascade hop, Exeter, Hops, India Pale Ale, Joel Littlefield, List of hop varieties, Matt Richardson, Ocean State Hops, Rhode Island, United States
Ruth & Lori Babcock, Tieton Farm & Creamery in Tieton, WA
Small farmers everywhere will be impacted by Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. In a recent webinar, Lori Babcock, co-owner of Tieton Farm & Creamery in Tieton, WA described the devastating impact of large Food & Drug Administration (FDA) fees and FSMA recordkeeping burdens on her livestock farms and dairy. She shared her concerns in a webinar called “FSMA – Its Impact on Artisan Cheesemakers” hosted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Office of Compliance & Outreach in mid-September.
Cheesemaking is an ancient craft. Microbes work their magic on milk and basic ingredient creating a variety of tasty, nutritious cheeses. European cheesemakers can use and reuse wicker baskets and boards to make their aged cheeses. In America, we have to compete with those products while our rules require stainless steel and plastic containers.
Recent studies have concluded that diverse microbial activity in the gut increases human health. Different microbes used to make cheese affect its flavor as do the animal’s breed, forage, minerals and water.
Large commercial operations use modern equipment and steel tanks to comply with sanitation and food safety rules. “Their products may be safe, but their cheese doesn’t taste like anything,” said Babcock.
FSMA shifts the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) focus from reactive to preventive action. [Read more here]
Posted in Agriculture, Food, Livestock, Recent Posts
Tagged Agriculture, artisanal cheesemaker, cheese, dairy, dairy farm, Dairy farming, farmer, farming, FDA, Food & Drug Administration, Food safety, Food Safety Modernization Act, FSMA, Health, Local food, Lori Babcock, Tieton Farm & Creamery, Tieton WA
Clarks Christmas Tree Farm
“How hard can it be to grow Christmas trees?” asked Eric Watne. He found out there is more to it than he expected over the past eight years as co-owner of Clark Farm in Tiverton, RI. Eric is now the President of the RI Christmas Tree Growers Association.
Purchasing a neglected Christmas tree farm was exciting for novice growers, Eric and Cat Watne. The founder of the Clarks Christmas Tree Farm had retired and moved away in the late 1990s. The next owner neglected most trees completely. Other trees had been shaved to maintain their overall size. Tree trunk diameter grew thicker every year. Eric said when his staff cut the thickest trunks by hand their arm would be useless for the next hour. The Watnes eventually used chain saws – until the old, thick-trunked trees were sold. Now, handsaws maintain the stillness of a winter day in the country. [Read more here.]
Photo provided by Clarks Christmas Tree Farm.
Dr. Dennis D’Amico
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed in January 2011. The USDA seeks comments on proposed rules and regulations from farmers, producers, handlers, resellers and consumers. The comment period ends Nov. 15. In a recent webinar, Dr. Dennis D’Amico of UConn described relevant changes within FSMA and their potential impact on artisanal cheesemakers and dairies. D’Amico urged those affected to send comments to the USDA before the comment deadline.
Food Safety Modernization Act
One of many significant changes is a shift in the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) from being reactive to preventive, D’Amico explained. New rules are not all based in science. [Read the full story here.]
View a one-hour, FSMA webinar by Dr D’Amico and others at AgInUncertainTimes.FarmManagement.org.
Learn more about FSMA and how it could affect farmers at farmtalkfsma.org and sustainableagriculture.net/fsma.
Posted in Agriculture, Food, Recent Posts
Tagged comment period, Dennis De'Amico, FDA, Food & Drug Administration, Food safety, Food Safety Modernization Act, FSMA, UConn, United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, webinar
Sean Kelley from Milan, NH with the winning team: “Rock” and “Dale”
Few loggers use draft horses to haul timber any more. Enthusiastic horse owners and audiences saw powerful horses pulling enormous loads at Horse Pulling competitions like the one held at “The Big E” on September 16, 2013. Displaying Herculean strength, horses and their teamsters pulled a stone sled with ever-increasing weights in three classes.
The teams pulled a stone boat or sled weighing about 500 pounds loaded with additional cement weights. (The sled weight was not counted with the weight pulled.) The sled started with 3,000 pounds and 1,000 pounds were added per round. After a few rounds, increments dropped to 500 pounds per round. Teams got five minutes for up to three hitches. Only their best distance counted. To advance to the next round, each team had to pull the sled at least 12 feet in one continuous motion. [Read more here.]
Posted in Agriculture, Livestock, Recent Posts
Tagged Draft horse, Equestrian, Halloween, Horse pulling, NH, Recreation, Sean Kelley, Sled, Sports, Weight