From Field to Food

Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery and soil agronomist Cathy Shugg of Crop Production Services enjoyed a great afternoon in the corn field for the Dairy Month Lecture Series on Sunday, June 3 at Barstow’s Longview Farm.

In case you missed it, we have this short recap for you:

  • Dairy farmers steward 10% of the agricultural land in the state of Massachusetts.
  • The Barstow’s farm 450 acres of land to grow their own forage for their animals.  Most of the land they farm they do not own.
  • Many dairy farmers cannot afford land or land taxes so they must purchase some or all of their livestock feed.
  • No-till practices keep the soil ecosystem in tact.  No-till is becoming more popular in New England but farmers face obstacles to switching from tilling to no-till including equipment investment cost and lower yields in the first few years. The Barstow’s have several no-till fields in their second year of production.
  • When it comes to crops, there is science and there is reality.  Labor, fertilizer, fuel, and seed costs, weather, soil, and much more are factors in determining how farmers raise their crops. Every farm is different.
  • Barstow’s Longview Farm raises GMO field corn and GMO alfalfa.  GMOs are a tool farmers can use to grow more food on fewer acres, reduce chemical usage, and fight pests and drought more effectively.
  • Barstow’s Longview Farm applies digestate (manure and food waste digested in their anaerobic digester) as a chemical-free fertilizer.
  • On Barstow’s Longview Farm, 250 acres of hay are cut 5 times per year, and 2oo acres of corn is cut in September.
  • The feed is stored in bunker silos where it ferments and lasts longer. This allows the Barstow’s to feed their animals from the land they farm year-round.
  • When it comes to capturing nutrients, harvest time matters.  In order to get the best feed, a farmer must harvest at precisely the right time.
  • Better feed = better animal nutrition = better milk.  And better milk means a better paycheck.  The most profitable thing a dairy farmer can do is provide quality nutrition to his herd.
  • If the farmer provides good nutrition, comfortable living space, and proper care, his girls will take care of the rest! Happy cows make the best milk!

Questions?  Barstow’s is honored to be an educational resource for our community.  Always feel free to reach out with your dairy and agriculture questions on our Contact Page.

Join us for the Dairy Month Lecture Series every Sunday in June!

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