UVM Extension - Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture TeamSEPTEMBER 2012 
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Jeff Carter
Extension Agronomist
(802) 388-4969 ext.332

Rico Balzano
Agronomy Outreach Professional
(802) 388-4969 ext.338

Kirsten Workman
Agronomy Outreach Professional
(802) 388-4969 ext.347

Cheryl Cesario
Grazing Outreach Professional 
(802) 388-4969 ext. 346 

Poultney Mettowee NRCD
(802) 558-6470
CV Crop Soil Pasture Team
UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work.

  Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. 


University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

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Q: ELSIE...Why does the state require farmers to seed cereal grain cover crops at 100lbs to the acre to qualify for cost share?  Isn't that excessive??


A: I hear this question a lot...and it is a good one to ask.  It is always important to balance economic efficiency with agronomic benefit. The state of Vermont and NRCS require a minimum of 100 pounds per acre for winter cover crops like cereal rye and triticale and a seeding date of no later than October 15th or 1st respectively.  They do this because as stewards and distributors of taxpayer dollars for conservation practices, they want to ensure that the cover crop is well-established and has enough ground cover to provide for proper erosion control and nutrient retention through the winter and early spring. In this particular case, however, this high rate of seeding is beneficial from an agronomic standpoint as well.  See Rico's article in the newsletter this month under Cover Crops and you will see more than one reference to 2 to 3 bushels to the acre (that's 112 to 168 pounds) for winter rye and triticale if you want to use the cover crop as forage (harvested or grazed), grain/seed, or straw.

rye seed  

Click HERE for more information on the topic.

If you would like to Ask ELSIE? a question, please email her by clicking  HERE.

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UVM Extension
Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture
September is here and seemingly summer is coming to an end.  Mornings are getting chillier, the mountains are starting to have tinges of orange appearing, and crops are being harvested.  In this September edition of our newsletter you will find a great synopsis of the busy summer season.

A few highlights of our September edition:  an update on our new Haybuster No Till Seed Drills, the Aerial Cover Crop Seeding Pilot Project, lots of information about Cover Crops and some farm economics and policy info.

We have lots of useful information in our newsletter and hope you take the time to read it.  If you would like to see more or different things included in this newsletter, please let us know.  We want this to be a useful form of communication with information YOU want to know and READ.  Be sure and share it with your friends and neighbors!!

News and Events
For Vermont Farmers in the Lake Champlain Watershed



by Rico Balzano, Agronomy Outreach Professional  


Winter small graicover cropns, such as winter rye, winter wheat, triticale and commonly used cover crops to provide soil cover through the winter months. But these winter grains are not just cover crops, they can be feed also. When planted mid-September, triticale can yield 2 tons/acre by mid-May (when cut at flag leaf or boot stage). Winter rye and winter wheat generally yields slightly less. After cutting in May or early June, there are many options. No-tilling in a warm season forage, such as sudex; no-tilling clover, alfalfa, grass mix; no-tilling a shorter season corn; or just plowing it up planting a shorter season corn or seeding down to a new forage mix. Grazing is also an option: Fall seeded cereal grains provides excellent early season pasture. When grazed before boot stage, small grains will regrow allowing for an additional forage harvest. Seeding rates should be at least

rye125lbs/ac., and can be as high as 175lbs/ac. Higher seeding rates will result in smaller stem size and allow quicker dry down.


For more information check out these links:

Managing Cereal Grains for Forage  

(Dr. Heather Darby, UVM Extension) 

Description and Seeding Rates for Forage Plants Grown in Vermont  

(Dr. Sid Bosworth, UVM Extension) 

Benefits of Early Planting of Cereal Rye After Corn Silage Harvest  

(Dr. Daniel Hudson, UVM Extension  




by Kirsten Workman, Agronomy Outreach Professional - Middlebury 

and Jeff Sanders, Agronomy Outreach Professional - St. Albans 

 helicopter corn

You may have seen (or heard) a helicopter in your neighborhood the last few weeks.  No, it was not spraying for mosquitoes....it was seeding Winter Rye into fields of standing corn!  The constant struggle of getting your cover crop on early, but harvesting your corn when it is fully mature is never easy (see Dan Hudson's article above).  This new pilot project aims to address that struggle, and make it easier to get a good stand of cover crop in your fields regardless of when the corn is picked.    


UVM Extension Staff helped coordinate this project, but the folks who really deserve credit are Cal Carr, Mansfield Heliflight, Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Maaerial rye seedlingsrkets (who provided cost share funding), Bordeau Brothers, Lawes Agriculture Service Inc., LD Oliver Seed Company Inc...and most importantly the very patient farmers who agreed to participate in this project. After a bumpy start, we figured out the many kinks and successfully seeded 100 lbs of rye per acre into standing corn on roughly 2000 acres in the Lake Champlain Basin.  The first fields were seeded at the end of August and at the time of this article had germinated and seedlings were about 5 to 6 inches tall.  The later seedings that happened in September were germinating within a couple of days.


  As the name implies, this pilot project, is meant to give this method of cover crop establishment a try and see how it all works.  Although it has been don

Aerial Seeding Winter Rye into Corn
Aerial Seeding Winter Rye into Corn

e in Vermont before (roughly 17 years ago was the last time it was tried), there is plenty to still learn.  After the project is completed and we see how the seedings fare after corn harvest and before planting next spring, you will hear more about this project.    



 For more information or if you have questions, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email:
Jeff Sanders (St. Albans) | jeffrey.sanders@uvm.edu | (802) 524-6062 x453

Kirsten Workman (Middlebury) | kirsten.workman@uvm.edu | (802) 388-4969 x347 




by Jeffrey Carter, Extension Agronomy Specialist


truck drill The two Haybuster No-Till Grain Drills that we purchased with a grant from the Vermont ANR are being used every day. So far we have been traveling around to 45 farms during the past two months and planted over 1,400 acres in Addison, Rutland and Chittenden counties. Yes on clay soil, sandy soil, rocks and mud. You may have seen one of them go by on the road (yellow and red) at a whopping 20 miles per hour. We have had a great number of requests from farmers to use both of the 10' drills for the following ideas:


1) add clover and grass mix to pastures and hay fields.

2) interseed BMR sudex and BMR sudangrass into hay fields.

3) reseed clover and alfalfa fields that did not catch very well this spring.

4) plant tillage radishes to see how they really do on clay soil.

5) plant wheat rye and triticale into pasture for spring grazing.

6) Plant winter rye into corn stubble for winter cover crop and chopping for spring feed.


We had some great catches and also some that failed since it was so hot and dry in July. It is a little late now for any more clover, alfalfa and grass seedings. For the next month, planting rye for cover crops will be the main use for the no-till drills. Cover that soil for the winter to save on soil erosion and grab up any left-over Nitrogen (40 lb/ac) after chopping corn. Next spring we will get back to planting small seeds. One situation will be to follow a Rye, Wheat or Triticale winter cover crop that is chopped for feed in May with no-till clover, alfalfa or grass for a new hay field or pasture. The other idea is to no-till BMR sudex or sudangrass into the rye

No-Till Drill in Action
No-Till Drill in Action

stubble for an annual haylage crop. This sets up a double-crop situation where the winter grain can be planted into the BMR stubble. I have been asked how will the drill do if we no-till soybeans next spring into corn residue after picking corn? How about if we no-till drill spring wheat into soybean stubble? I say, let's keep trying a whole lot of different things and figure out what works to reduce tillage plowing and save some fuel and time. We need farmers to try different things so we can see what works. We also have helped a whole lot of farmers enroll in the state Farm Agronomic Practices (FAP) program and they are getting incentive payments to use the no-till drill, plant cover crops and use the aerway machines for manure. If you didn't get to use a no-till drill or aerway, or you don't get FAP payments from the state program, give us a call.


Give us a call at (802) 388-4969 if you are interested in using one of the drills, and stay tuned for more in depth coverage of the drills and what we've been doing with them!!   



Read this informative blog post by Daniel Hudson, UVM Extension Agronomist about things to remember before and during corn silage harvest HERE. pack bunker


It is full of helpful information and resources on topics including:  

  • Start on Time 
  • Cutting Height
  • Understanding "Shrink"
  • Chopping Length and Kernal Processing
  • Packing 
  • Covering to Exclude Oxygen 


 See more postings by Daniel Hudson at his UVM Extension Agronomators Blog  


Meet one-on-one with UVM Extension Farm Business Specialist, Mark Cannella, to update financial records or business plans.  ONe hour sessions can be adapted to meet the needs of individual businesses and managers.  Use this time to prepare farm budgets, update financial statements or develop strategic management plans. 
Dates at Middlebury Extension Office (9:00am, 10:30am, or 1:00pm):
  • October 5th
  • November 30th  
  • December 28th 
Appointments must be scheduled in advance!
Contact Christi Sherlock to make your appointment now: 
christi.sherlock@uvm.edu | (802) 223-2389
UVM Extension will contact you in advance of your meeting date to recommend teh materials or records to bring with you to your meeting.

SUMMARY OF DAIRY SITUATION CONFERENCE CALL WITH BOB WELLINGTON  If you were unable to attend the September 6th conference call with Bob Wellington, Agrimark Senior Economist about the current dairy situation, economics and policy, you can view a summary of the call HERE.  These notes were taken by Bob Parsons, UVM Extension Ag Economist and shared with our newsletter by Alan Curler of Farm Viability. 

  Oct. 3 - Dairy Gross Margin Insurance Webinar

7:30 pm - 9:00 pm...Middlebury Extension Office (23 Pond Lane) 

UVM Extension will host a Dairy Gross Margin webinar with Professor Brian Gould, the creator of the Understanding the Dairy Markets website that is used for Dairy Gross Margin insurance education at the Extension office in Middlebury.  With the October 26 sales period rapidly approachin, interested producers are encouraged to attend the weibinar to learn the basics o the program, including how to protect your margin, how to calculate income over feed ocsts, contract requirements, and how payments are determined.  A question & answer period will follow.

For more information, contact UVM Extension at (802) 349-2966  




by George Tucker, USDA-NRCS Soil Conservationist


You may or may not have heard that the Vermont NRCS will give producers several opportunities to apply for their EQIP and WHIP cost-share programs in FY 2013.  In an effort to make the turn around time shorter between when producers apply and when they actually get funded contracts, there will be four cutoff dates for applying.  They are as follows:

  • October 1, 2012
  • November 15, 2012
  • February 15, 2013
  • April 1, 2013

Applications will be ranked and then obligated after each of these cutoff dates, until all funding is obligated.  If you are interested and want to apply for NRCS cost-share programs before the October 1st cutoff, please contact a Soil Conservationist at your local NRCS office as soon as possible.


NRCS Offices in the Champlain Basin:

Berlin - (802) 828-4493NRCS Logo

Middlebury - (802) 388-6748 

St. Albans - (802)  527-1296 

Williston - (802) 865-7895



by Nate Sands, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets  


The FAP program is making a few changes in how it manages this very popular cost-share program.  Producers who applied for cost share for the Winter Cover Crop practice should have received a contract in the mail.  Please sign and return that contract at your earliest convenience in order to get paid as quickly as possible after the practice is implemented.  If you have not received payment from the State of Vermont in the last 3 years, please also return a completed W-9 form as well.


Please contact Nate Sands at (802) 224-6850 or nathaniel.sands@state.vt.us prior to implementing any practices to verify whether or not funding is available.  


Applications and information are available online HERE.  





  by Cheryl Cesario, Grazing Outreach Professional 


Our no-till drill has seen a lot of pasture activity this summer and one of the many exciting things we have been experimenting with seeding is tillage radish. Unlike the little red radishes you find in your salad, the tillage radish is a large tap-rooted variety that has the ability to grow several inches long in a short period of time. As with other tap-rooted plants, it has the ability to pull up nutrients from deeper in the soil and also helps break up soil compaction. The radish, being an annual crop, will rot over the winter months leaving a channel where it grew the previous year. This channel enables water and air to percolate into the lower soil layers.  

  tillage radish

One farmer who has been experimenting quite a bit with tillage radish is Guy Choiniere of Highgate. Guy broadcasts a mix of radish and ryegrass seed at 10 pounds to the acre. He will typically seed heavy use and other problem areas in June with a seeder mounted on his ATV. Once the radish has established, Guy lets his Holstein cows graze the radish tops. The tops re-grow enabling the cows to graze them again later in the season. If you haven't already seen the UVM Extension 'Across the Fence' program about this project, click HERE.


Addison County farmers have wondered if the radishes would do as well on our heavy clay soils (Guy's soils are fairly sandy). This season we were able to seed tillage radish with the no-till drill into pastures on farms in Addison, Cornwall, and Orwell. Radishes seeded before a light rain germinated after just 2 days! Plants seeded a month ago now have tops 5-6 inches tall. Because our seeding was done in August, there may not be enough time before a hard frost to see a fully grown tillage radish. However, these trials should give us an idea if there is potential for this crop in our area. Next spring we hope to do more seeding trials earlier in the season so that the radish can grow to its full potential. Stay tuned!



Sept. 24 -Poultry Extravaganza 
Day Long...Randolph, VT
$10 NOFA-VT/VGFA members; $20 nonmembers 
Designed for experienced or commercial poultry producers, but producers of all size & scale are welcome.  Enjoy a day highlighting poultry from chick to chicken dinner with speakers on poultry production, business management, processing and adding value.  Featuring Dr. Jeff Mattocks of Fertrell, Inc. who will focus on health and nutrition of pastured poultry, including balancing poultry rations with alternative feeds.  Many other speakers will touch on additional topics.  Organized by NOFA-VT, UVM Extension, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and supported by USDA Risk Management.
For  More INFO: info@nofavt.org | (802) 434-4122 

Sept. 25 - Reclaiming and Rejuvenating Your Pasture and Hayland
               4:00 - 7:00 PM...Knoll Farm (Fayston, VT)
                $5 VGFA Members; $15 nonmembers
UVM Extension agronomy and grazing personnel, along with beginning and experienced famers and landowners will discuss the many approaches to balancing of pasture and hay land improvements with budget and time limitations.  Knoll Farm offers an excellent opportunity to see pasture and hay land  improvement at different stages.  Sponsored by the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture's Pasture Program, UVM Extension and USDA Risk Management.
For more INFO: Jenn Colby | jcolby@uvm.edu | (802) 656-0858

                         Dan Hudson | daniel.hudson@uvm.edu | (802) 535-7922 


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Jeff Carter,
Extension Agronomist
UVM Extension- Champlain Valley Crop, Soil & Pasture Team