Agriculture Archives for 2016-10

Manure Digesters Soon To Be Included For Focus On Energy Rebates

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By Tim Kowols




The Wisconsin Public Service Commission and its Focus on Energy program might help farmers convert their cattle manure into electricity. The PSC voted last week to consider spending up to $20 million on digester technology to help farmers not only harness power but manage manure supplies. Lee Kinnard from Kinnard Farms in Casco has worked with Focus on Energy before while his family underwent the construction of its new dairy barn and milking facility. Kinnard says Focus on Energy has helped many farmers in his region and the recent announcement is more good news.



The PSC provided Kewaunee County a grant last year to look into a network of manure digesters in a study called Project Phoenix. Dynamic Concepts completed the study in June and envision a capital investment of $188 million for full implementation of its plan.

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Robotic Milking Changing The Face Of Family Farming

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By Tim Kowols




With eyes on keeping family farms flourishing in northeast Wisconsin,  Abts Lely Center in New Franken hopes its robotic milking systems can do just that. According to Modern Farmer, the approximately $200,000 system can handle herds of 55 to 70 cows. Greg Abts from Abts Lely Center says the robotic milking systems have helped increase interest in farming.



Randy Kinnard and his family recently installed two Lely Astronaut milking systems and plans to purchase two more by the end of next year for their farm in Casco. Kinnard says with the farm changing hands to the next generation in the future, it was the right decision for them.



Abts says if you missed Saturday's open house at Kinnard Highland Farms in Casco (runs until 3 p.m.), Abts Lely Center hosts a super tour of farms with the robotic milking systems in the spring. Three farms in Door and Kewaunee counties have the systems installed at their operations.

[embed]https://youtu.be/aHN2F1Dxb0g[/embed]

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Wisconsin Loses More Dairy Farms

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By David Meyer




The federal Agriculture Department released a report saying that nearly 400 dairy farms across the state closed this year.  While this seems like a high amount of farms to be closed in the Dairy State, it is an improvement from the 1,000 that have closed annually in the past.  Holstein Association CEO John Meyer views Wisconsin through a national lens and maintains that the area has a strong future despite these trends.



Milk prices have dipped everywhere, but the Wisconsin market is "As strong, or stronger than most places," according to Meyer.

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Dairy Farmers Finding Ways To Invest In Operation Despite Lagging Pirces

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By Tim Kowols




Dairy farmers are still finding ways to invest in the future of their operations despite stagnant milk prices. After reaching record highs in 2014, November Class III milk futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange stand at just $15.23 per hundredweight. Despite the lower prices, Randy Kinnard and his family at Kinnard Highland Farms in Casco still invested in the future of the operation by building a new barn, expanding his herd, and installing robotic milking systems. Kinnard says it has been worth the investment.

 



 

The Wisconsin State Farmer reported that U.S. farmers have dumped 43 million gallons of milk so far this year to battle over supply  and low prices, which currently sit at $14.71 per hundredweight.  Kinnard Highland Farms will show off their new dairy barn this Saturday in Casco beginning at 10 a.m.

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Fall Harvest Kicks Off Farm Safety and Health Week

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The start of the fall harvest this month also marks the beginning of National Farm Safety and Health Week. Traffic and equipment accidents make this time of the year one of the most deadly times of the year for farmers and motorists. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says farmers and motorists need to be aware of each other while on the roads.

Farm Safety




 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture outpaces transportation and mining in work-related deaths, 22.2 people per 100,000 workers. You can read and hear more safety tips for farmers and motorists from Aerica Bjurstom below.

TIPS FROM AERICA BJURSTROM

For Farmers:

  • Time is short and people are in a rush. Take a break when you need it.

  • Keep equipment maintained and in working order.

  • Make sure all caution lights, SMVs and reflectors are visible and free of mud and debris.

  • Do not remove shields or guards ---they are there for a reason!

  • Be a defensive driver, be alert of who is around you and where.

  • Be aware of silo gases. Avoid going in a silo when gases are forming.

  • Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Silo gases are heavier than air and will settle in low areas. Be sure someone knows where you are if you must enter a silo.


For motorists:

  • Farm equipment has the right to be on the road.

  • Not all farm equipment is required to have turn signals and brake lights.

  • As a motorist, please use caution, patience, and share the road with farm equipment. Following farm equipment on a highway is the equivalent of sitting at a stop light. The "time lost" is about the same.

  • Most farm machinery operates at less than 20 mph.

  • Leave plenty of space between you and farm machinery, a vehicle operating at 55 mph can catch up to a tractor in a matter of seconds.

  • Typically equipment is on the road for a short drive to or from a field, so exercise patience when following farm machinery.

  • It is illegal to pass farm equipment on a straight line (no passing zone).

  • Use good judgement if you must pass farm equipment. Often times the reason farm equipment is going exceptionally slow is because they are preparing to turn into a field. Attempting to pass a tractor who suddenly turns left will end in disaster.

  • Tractors often ride on the shoulder to allow for better visibility for motorists, but be aware they need to maneuver around mailboxes and other obstacles.


Farm Safety Full Interview




 

 

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