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from the Agricultural Engineering Program
Sunrise with fog, Rutland County

From cold to hot and flood to drought, it has been an interesting and challenging summer. A farmer in Newbury once shared an old-time saying that seems to ring true this year "Sow four seeds... one to rot, one for the crow, one to reap and one to sow."

This fall brings five one-day food storage workshops across the state, a chance for greenhouse growers to apply for 50% cost share on a biomass boiler, the expansion of our winter storage crops quality improvement initiative and, of course, hops harvesting.

My best,

Chris Callahan, PE
UVM Extension
Howe Business Park - 1 Scale Ave, Suite 55
Rutland, VT 05701
802-773-3349 x277 - chris.callahan@uvm.edu
Food Storage Workshops This Fall

We have a series of one-day food storage workshops scheduled for this fall with support from the USDA's Northeast SARE program.

Veg in storage

Topics covered:
  • the growing importance of long-term crop storage
  • principles of energy and heat transfer
  • basic heating and refrigeration
  • construction for utility and efficiency
  • maintaining temperature, airflow and humidity
  • biological processes of crops in storage
  • storage characteristics of various crops, and
  • sizing and design of storage systems.
Dates and Locations:
  • Brattleboro - 9/17
  • Rutland - 9/19
  • White River Junction - 10/9
  • St. Johnsbury - 10/10
  • Shelburne - 10/16
$20 registration fee includes light breakfast, lunch, workbook and references. More information and registration link are available on the workshop page.

Biomass Boilers for Greenhouse Heating


Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and UVM Extension Agricultural Engineering, are launching a targeted program that supports the installation of between five and ten automatic-feed, biomass heating systems for greenhouses, significantly reducing propane consumption.  


Maxim Boiler at Riverberry Farm   

Eligible farms must be located in the former electric service territory of Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS). Farms chosen to participate in the program will receive reimbursement for 50% of the project cost up to $7,000. Application available here.  

Winter Storage Crop Improvement Project

With support from a Working Lands Technical Service Provider Grant awarded earlier this Summer, we're focusing efforts on 10 sites through-out the state to improve long-term storage quality and quantity of winter crops such as carrots, cabbage, potatoes, squash and onions.

The project includes site visits for consultation regarding storage facility structure, equipment, and operation in collaboration with Efficiency Vermont. A key element of the initiative is improved control and remote monitoring of temperature and humidity in the storage space to maximize crop quality and minimize loss.

Hops Harvest 2013


The UVM Extension Mobile Hops Harvester has been racking up the miles this year visiting multiple hop yards around Vermont.  This harvester was developed as part of the UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Hop Research Project.  It fills a gap between hand picking (at 1 dry pound per hour on average) and large, stationary picking facilities.  The faster harvest (up to 120 dry pounds per hour) and mobility makes it shared infrastructure necessary to this nascent market with the potential to reduce harvest costs by 97% and improve crop quality by minimizing the harvest period.


Harvest day - Mad Mountain Hops - Berlin, VT  


Plans for the machine are available for free download. Several copies or similar versions of the machine are being produced including ones in New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and Ontario. You can also see video of how the machine works here

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. UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work.