As Vermont greens up and the 2018 growing season gets underway, we've put together just a few of the things that Center staff are advising that farmers and growers consider to help get the season off to the right start.
However you're farming or managing farmland, we hope these might be of use to you, that you'll share them with any who might find them useful, and that you'll keep in mind that we're here for you as the season gets going.
Read on for tips from our research and outreach folks...
"The pasture grows fast at this time of year - so now that most grazing livestock have had some time out on it, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at the whole pasture system and assess. Are there places that might get too far ahead and would benefit from some light clipping? Any bare soil spots that would benefit from some broadcasting of seed? If so, it’s a good time to take action."
- Offered by Kimberly Hagen, Grazing Specialist
"For farmers and landowners in a lease agreement, it is easy to get caught up in production mode and neglect checking in about how the lease arrangement is going. A sustainable lease arrangement involves regular communication about what is going well or not so well. Now is a good time to think ahead a bit and schedule a time to talk."
- Offered by Ben Waterman, Beginning Farmer, Land Access & New American Farmer Program Coordinator
"Our UVM Extension Farm Viability colleague Tony Kitsos is offering Water Quality Business Analysis program for farms with RAPs water quality projects, with help provided for business or budget planning. Contact is Tony Kitsos"
- Offered by Suzy Hodgson, Sustainable Agriculture Outreach Specialist
"If you use an electric fence to guard your garden, field crops, or animals from unwanted visitors, make sure that fence works! Check that it is adequately grounded and that your power source is reliable."
- Offered by Laura Johnson, Agronomy Outreach Specialist
"Always a good idea to be prepared for the next significant dry spell as there's no telling when it will happen. With that in mind, this is a great time to check out how your irrigation system is looking – change oil and service grease fittings on the pump, check seals on pipe fittings, and make sure surface water intake points are still usable. Then you'll be able to count on it when it's needed most."
- Offered by Joshua Faulkner, Farming & Climate Change Coordinator
"As June approaches, consider taking a pre-side-dress nitrate test (PSNT) from fields that have your most valuable cash crops planted. The tests cost $9 from the UVM soil test lab and will offer a “snap shot” of how much nitrogen is available at that moment, guiding your sidedress applications as well as better understanding overall N management. You can also efficiently cycle nutrients and build organic matter with mid-season cover crops like sorghum sudangrass or Japanese millet." - We spotted this great tip by our UVM Extension colleague Becky Maden in the May 22 Vermont Vegetable and Berry News
(This list originally appeared in our May 2018 Fresh from the Field newsletter.)