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northern new york: using birdsfoot trefoil for parasite control pasture walk!

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Northern New York. Two Pasture Walks in September will provide small livestock producers with a research update on whether grazing heavy stands of birdsfoot trefoil, a forage crop high in condensed tannins, can help reduce often fatal worm loads in sheep and goats in Northern New York.

The research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is the first trial in Northern New York evaluating whether the pasture species known as birdsfoot trefoil can provide a natural pasturing solution for controlling parasites in the small livestock. It is part of a four-year project being conducted in cooperation by Cornell University, the University of Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, and the University of Wisconsin.

The Pasture Walks are set for September 15 at 2:30 pm at Asgaard Farm and Dairy in AuSable Forks, NY, and September 16 at 6:30 pm at the St. Lawrence County Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning Farm in Canton, NY. Interested producers may register for either Pasture Walk with Hodge at 315-379-9192, bmf9@cornell.edu.

Hodge notes that this research is especially important to conventional sheep and goat producers seeing resistance to chemical dewormers in their flocks and herds and to organic producers who have limited options for organically-approved deworming products.

These Pasture Walks are sponsored by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program in conjunction with the Cornell Sheep and Goat Program, with support from Federal Formula Funds, the USDA Organic Research and Education Initiative, and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education funds.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. A current summary of this NNY project work is online at www.nnyagdev.org.

MORE INFO:
Dr. tatiana Stanton of the Cornell Sheep and Goat Program and Northern New York Regional Livestock Team Leader Betsy Hodge with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County will share the preliminary evaluation of new birdsfoot trefoil pastures on farms in Northern New York.

NNY Regional Crops and Soils Specialist Dr. Kitty O’Neil will discuss the challenges of properly establishing dense pastures of birdsfoot trefoil and provide insights on seeding, growing and managing birdsfoot trefoil pastures.

At Asgaard Farm and Dairy, owner Rhonda Butler will talk about evasive grazing techniques and other management practices that help control parasites in the dairy goat herd there. The farm has had little to no parasite problems there this year. The birdsfoot trefoil pasture of Pardee was established at Asgaard Farm in the fall of 2014.

At the Extension Learning Farm Walk in Canton, Hodge will lead a pasture walk and talk about the impact on sheep grazing the Pardee birdsfoot trefoil pasture established there in the spring of 2014. Stanton will share preliminary conclusions of an additional study there that combines the use of copper oxide wire particles with the use of birdsfoot trefoil pasturing. The study compares the growth rates of lambs raised on birdsfoot trefoil pasture to same year lambs weaned onto conventional pasture or hay and grain.

Fact sheets on best practices for establishing birdsfoot trefoil pasture and comparing birdsfoot trefoil yield and nutritional value to conventional pasturing will be available at both walks.

Birdsfoot trefoil, a forage legume known for its non-bloating properties and high levels of rumen bypass protein, can be hard to establish.  However, the Champlain Valley of New York State was one of the major birdsfoot trefoil seed producers in the U.S. at one time until an epidemic of species-specific fusarium wilt destroyed it. One of the birdsfoot varieties, Pardee, used for this research in NNY was developed at Cornell specifically to combat fusarium wilt.

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