News & Announcements

The 2018 Hay Crop

Posted by on February 13, 2019 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

By: Carl C. Stafford
Senior Extension Agent 2/1/19

The 2018 hay crop will probably go down in history as one of the worst of its kind in recent memory. I recall a summer in the 70’s when my Pop spent his hay season frustrated by rain. Frustration in the 2018 growing season was high to say the least. It was a record wet season with about twice the normal rainfall. While rain makes hay grow, it prevents timely, dry harvest. The old adage, “make hay while the sun shines” could not be truer than in 2018, we just did not see the enough sun. When it did come out, a mad scramble commenced with everyone cutting, raking and baling hay at once. It usually takes about three good days of drying weather to make hay. There were a few spells like this but not enough of them during the growing season to allow quality hay made in the quantity needed.

Grazing livestock, be they horses, sheep, cattle, llamas or goats universally depend upon stored feed during the dormant season – when grass stops growing. This is usually from November until April. Stored feed for these critters is mostly hay. Many people make their own hay for their livestock and some sell the excess to generate extra income. Still others are in the hay business, making every effort to harvest and store very high quality hay, “horse quality” is the goal, not everyone makes it.

Horse quality hay is green in color and is leafy, nutritious and free of must, dust and off odors. Horse hay commands the highest price along with dairy quality hay. Made from several types of grass, it can be a mix with legumes and it can be the queen of forages – alfalfa. Sometimes horses are fed hay they do not need, but that is a discussion for another day.

The supply of horse hay made in the wet growing season of 2018 is limited. Supply and demand dictate that with lower supply the market can command a higher price and this rations the available supply. Higher prices also attract supply from surplus areas and we know this hay is moving here from those states. Horse customers have high standards as do their suppliers who seek to satisfy them. It is a struggle and a challenge to be in the horse hay business, 2018 survivors will recount this year.

Cow hay is another category altogether and unlike horse hay, is not always of the highest quality. Rained on, over mature, stored out of doors and weather damaged all can generally describe cow hay made in 2018. The cows and their owners are not so particular, but cows do need a certain amount of nutrition or they go backwards. The hay shortage affects everyone dependent upon stored feed and wet winter-feeding conditions is not helping as waste increases and the supply dwindles further.

In summary, we feed what we make and this year we made a poor crop, short crop. If you find good hay, buy it. Your next chance will be in the coming summer with the new crop. As we are trending wet, until now, who knows when quality hay, in surplus, will appear. And so goes the life of a farmer.

Corn and Carbon Field Day

Posted by on January 2, 2019 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 1 comment

Robert Shoemaker, Nutrient Management Specialist, Virginia DCR, speaks  during the corn and carbon field day held at Battle Park Farms.

Robert Shoemaker, Nutrient Management Specialist, Virginia DCR, speaks
during the corn and carbon field day held at Battle Park Farms.

Robert Shoemaker, Nutrient Management Specialist, Virginia DCR, speaks  during the corn and carbon field day held at Battle Park Farms.

Robert Shoemaker, Nutrient Management Specialist, Virginia DCR, speaks
during the corn and carbon field day held at Battle Park Farms.

Dr Wade Thomason, foreground, speaks during the Corn and Carbon Field Day  held at Battle Park Farms, Culpeper, 2018.

Dr Wade Thomason, foreground, speaks during the Corn and Carbon Field Day
held at Battle Park Farms, Culpeper, 2018.

Jack Inkseep, center, welcomes people to the Corn and Carbon Field Day hosted by he and his brothers, Byrd and Bernard Inskeep of Battle Park Farms,
Culpeper 2018.

Beginning Farmer: Whole Farm Planning

Posted by on November 17, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Join VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Agent Susan Cheek for this introductory course from the New, Beginning & U.S. Military Veteran Farmer and Rancher Program from VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program.

Corn and Carbon Field Day

Posted by on November 4, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Dr Wade Thomason, Grains Specialist, Virginia Cooperative Extension, discusses the merits of the Battle Park Farm corn variety trial with participants in the Corn and Carbon Field day held on location September 20.

 

Dr Alan Franzluebbers, Soil Scientist, USDA ARS, discusses the role carbon plays in the release of nitrogen needed for plant growth during a September 20th Corn and Carbon Field Day held on Battle Park Farm.

 

Johnathan Inskeep, seated on the tractor, ferries participants across the 24 corn varieties planted on Battle Park Farm during the Corn and Carbon Field day held on location September 20.

Corn Variety Trial

Posted by on November 4, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Don Meek, Agronomist, supervises data collection during the Battle Park Farm corn variety trial harvest.

 

Jimmy Dyer, Field Man, Orange Madison Coop, weighs corn during the Battle Park Farm corn variety trial.

 

Tommy Mountjoy uses his combine to harvest the Battle Park Farm corn variety trial.

Extension Agent Achievement

Posted by on November 4, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Shawn Appling, Extension Agent, Horticulture (center) with Lonnie Johnson, Associate Director, Field Operations and Administration (left) and John Thompson, Northern District Director (right). Shawn is being recognized for early career achievement in horticulture programming impact. His is located in the Culpeper office of Virginia Cooperative Extension serving Culpeper, Orange and Madison counties in commercial and consumer horticulture. He has a Master of Science in Horticulture from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from University of Georgia. Shawn can be reached at ashawn6@vt.edu or by phone at 540-727-3435, ext. 355.

VSU Small Farm Training

Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Roger Williams trains New Farmers at The Carver Center in September. VSU Small Farm Outreach Program team organized and conducted the program to focus on Nutrient Management and Soil Health.

Roger Williams trains New Farmers at The Carver Center in September. VSU Small Farm Outreach Program team organized and conducted the program to focus on Nutrient Management and Soil Health.

Radish and Barley Cover Crop Demonstration

Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

Lawrence Bennett plants radish and barley cover crop demonstration at The Carver Center in September.  Battle Park Farms prepared the land, CFC Farm and Home and County Farm Service both donated seed.

Lawrence Bennett plants radish and barley cover crop demonstration at The Carver Center in September. Battle Park Farms prepared the land, CFC Farm and Home and County Farm Service both donated seed.

VSU Small Farm Outreach staff meeting

Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Blog, Featured, News & Announcements | 0 comments

VSU Small Farm Outreach staff meeting in the Four County Museum at The Carver Center in September.