1 From Field to Fork AN ORGANIC MEADOW CO-OPERATIVE PUBLICATION APRIL/MAY 2009 Organic Meadow Co-operative Board of Director Highlights ~ Stew Slater March 10, 2009, Gencor Building, Guelph Perfect Storm kitchen table meetings: At the time of the last Board of Directors meeting, two member meetings about the Perfect Storm project had been held in Eastern Ontario, with several more still to come in Central and Western Ontario. Attendance was disappointing at one meeting, but at the Krolls the attendance was great, leading to a lively 4 ½ hour discussion. Thanks to all members who attended any of the meetings. Dairy Pool developments: Steve Cavell informed the Board of Directors about a letter that is being sent out by management to Organic Meadow dairy producers, clarifying some issues regarding the supply and demand situation in Ontario. Dairy Farmers of Ontario has decided to implement a waiting list for producers undergoing organic transition, before they can begin shipping into the organic pool. Organic Meadow is not in support but will not fight the decision. In an effort to boost demand in Ontario, Organic Meadow is moving to cease its usage of organic milk from Quebec. New products and product formats, planned for the next couple of months, will hopefully also contribute to boosting demand Co-op budget: Ramesh presented a draft budget for the Organic Meadow Cooperative for It was approved by the Board of Directors. Board members also approved a motion to ask Ken Cooper, from the Organic Meadow Incorporated board of directors, to lead a training session about the reading financial statements. Organic Meadow Ambassador program: In her Member Relations report, Shelly Juurlink informed the Board of Directors that Sherrill Lord has begun work on an Organic Meadow Ambassador program. The goal of the program is to equip a number of Organic Meadow producers with the knowledge and ability to address members of the media or members of the public about issues related to the Co-op. This could be useful at trade shows, consumer visits, or if media outlets are doing articles about organic food or other related topics. Volunteers would undergo training, which could happen some time in April or May. Volunteers are needed, and it sounds like a great opportunity. Co-op/Company Structure: On behalf of an ad hoc committee that had been established by the Co-op Board of Directors, Paul Campbell presented an outline of what the committee believes represents the current structure of leadership within Organic Meadow. The committee was formed after the Co-op bought back full ownership of Organic Meadow Incorporated, and there was concern that we needed to make sure all roles are clear. The report will be presented to the Organic Meadow Incorporated board of directors, and will be kept on file for future reference. Next meeting: Tuesday, April 28, Gencor Building, Guelph Organic Meadow Update ~Steve Cavell The Member Relations team decided the theme this month would be Pasture and we have all been advised to write something PMS Yellow PMS 355 Green PMS 185 Red which PMS 312 Blue fits Blackwith the theme. So, as I always try to do what I am told I will expand the subject only a little to include non-pasture grass feeding as well. I am certain that most Canadians believe that all cows are pasture fed during the good weather. I am also certain that a lot of big dairy marketing folks want them to believe exactly that. This is probably because most Canadians have a notion that farms are idyllic places with ponds, meadows, woodlots, quaint houses and happy cows out in the fields. So, when our cows are pastured we are meeting the expectations of most consumers and absolutely meeting the requirements of the organic standards. We need to be proud, and loud, about our pastures and the benefits that pasturing bring to cows and to the milk they produce. More nutrients and better taste for example. But we live in Canada and cows cannot spend twelve months at pasture like they do in New Zealand. And we have pressures around production, costs and animal care in the winter months. Most of our consumers have no understanding of this and probably think all cows get through the winter with dry hay from the small, square bales you all keep in the loft above the barn. Are we meeting consumer expectations? In England there is a very strong movement towards local food. Yet Scottish milk sells for more than local organic milk in Cambridge (southeast England). One day I asked the driver for the Scottish dairy which was making a delivery to The Cooperative (grocery store) why Scottish milk commanded such a price premium. His reply, delivered with a thick Scottish Highlands accent was Well laddie, in the heelands we canna grow grains and maize so the coos dunna eat but hay. What he was saying was that Scottish dairy cows are grass fed and the milk tastes so much better that it commands a 20% price premium. Think about it. In Canada organic gets a price premium the big dairies would like to eliminate with large factories and large, high production farms with high grian and corn diets. I like the Scottish idea.
2 SPRING THOUGHTS FROM MEMBER RELATIONS ~ Shelly Juurlink The Member Relations team has been running for the past few months to farm shows all across the province. If putting up and taking down the OM booth were a sport, I guarantee you that your regional field managers would be taking home the gold. When not at your kitchen tables for winter visits, these folks were representing OM across the province at 16 different shows in the past three months! Busy, Busy! With spring just around the corner and kitchen table meetings in full swing, there seems to be a desire among the members to strengthen the co-op ties. There are a few ideas roaming around the OM headquarters, board rooms and the kitchens of your fellow members that need your energy to bring them forth into reality. I always grin when I imagine Ted, Gerry and Rick running around the bases at the early OM (Ontarbio) annual picnics in Chepstow, and wonder if there would be interest within the current membership to have a tournament or a picnic to bring members and their families together? Or a Sunday afternoon potluck or BBQ at the local community center? Or a knitting night to make hats and booties for the pre-natal program in Toronto? Have you considered planting an extra row of melons or tomatoes or broccoli to help The Stop s (food bank) efforts for those less fortunate? Let your imaginations run wild during your tractor time this spring. There is so much we can do! Organic Meadow Co-op is a special organization and there is a lot of opportunity and talent within it to make big changes in the lives of others; the lives of our fellow members and those of less fortunate strangers. Marketing Update Here is one of my favorite quotes: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead So my challenge to you this year is to come up with a creative community event designed to bring our members and their families closer together. Send in a little write up about what you did and how it turned out to inspire your fellow members. Give me a call if you need any help organizing or funding your events! Please don t forget to send in your family story page and picture for the Organic Meadow Members book. The easiest way to receive your information would be digitally through organicmeadow.com) (subject: OM Members book), however, we can always work with a handwritten history and a picture from the family photo album too! If you can get this to us before you put your cows out on pasture, it would be greatly appreciated! Last but not least, there is a project awaiting those of you who want to help out in Africa this fall. Check your mailboxes for a mail-out with the details. My trip there in January was quite inspiring with the work they ve done over the past few years and the momentum they have to move forward on this new project. The villagers of Njawara are also very excited to host their fellow farmers from Canada! That s all for now folks! Here s wishing you a successful spring! ~ Jennifer Whiting This month s theme is pasture. I must admit, I don t know much about the subject however, I am certainly enjoying my morning drives into the office and the view of the greening pastures. I insist that the recent rain has allowed for the grass to double in height in the last couple of days alone. We in the marketing department have been quite busy over the last couple of months. We continue to go to consumer shows such as the Ottawa Go Green Expo on March nd and we were deeply involved in the Maple in the County Festival in Picton on March th. The Go Green Festival was a huge success, we had great response from consumers about our glass bottles and spent a lot of time talking/ educating consumers about what it means to be organic. Ron McCoy was a great help in giving a farmers perspective and the consumers loved it. Thanks Ron! Maple in the County was a 20 th Anniversary event, where Murray McLauchlan performed to a crowd of over 300 people on the Friday night at the Regent Theatre in Picton. Tickets were sold for this concert and the money was donated to help with the preservation of the theatre. We had displays (and donated food) at both the Fields on West Lake Waffle Breakfast on Saturday as well as the Slow Food The County s French Toast Brunch on Sunday, and at both events our staff were there to answer questions about Organic Meadow products. We ve more recently just come back from a show in Toronto called the Green Living Show, where we brought the farm to the city. It s a great opportunity for us to connect and talk to green consumers in the GTA. There were an estimated 20,000 people that attended the show and sampled our 2% milk, cheese and cottage cheese. Harrietta and Paul Campbell were available on Friday and Debbie Vice was in the booth on Saturday to answer consumer questions about organic farming. Thanks goes out to everyone who helped make the show such a success. There seems to always be something new happening in the Marketing Department. This summer we have a new summer student helping us out, Candace Zettler who is in her 3 rd year at Guelph for animal sciences and she is the daughter of co-op members Rick & Joan Zettler. Welcome Candace to the Organic Meadow team. We are very excited to be launching our glass bottles the week of May 5 th. You ll be able to find them in your local independent health food store, so if they don t carry it already, ask for them! Organic Meadow has also secured a spot on Citytv Breakfast Television on Monday, May 25th at the Vice s farm in Blackstock, Ontario. Breakfast Television is the number one morning show in the GTA and will be providing Organic Meadow with a huge media opportunity to profile a co-op member, our products and your brand. So, if you get a morning off of chores then turn on the television at 7am to watch. It s going to be an exciting spring and summer! Look for an update in the next issue of Field to Fork.
3 The new Canadian Organic Standard introduces a number of new rules governing livestock rations. Some of the most important for organic dairy producers pertain to the feeding of forage. Pasture Requirements Section 6.1.3(a) of the COS states: Herbivores shall have access to pasture during the grazing season, and access to the open air at other times when weather conditions permit. Calculated on the basis of Dry Matter Intake, the consumption of grazed forage during the grazing season of the region shall represent a minimum of 30% of the total forage intake during this period for ruminants which have reached sexual maturity. On all farms a minimum of 0.13 ha (1/3 acre) per animal unit must be devoted to grazing. (1 animal unit = 1 cow, 1 bull, 2 calves (225 to 500 kg) 5 calves of less than 225kg, 4 ewes and lambs, 6 does and kids). Because this is a standard for the whole country, the grazing season is not defined, but the certifier is clearly not going to accept that one farm has a 60-day grazing season if all the other farms in the area are grazing for 120 days or more! It is also understood that the 1/3 acre per animal unit requirement is a minimum and that in many parts of the country, it will take more than this area of pasture to meet the 30% minimum. It is also important to realize that the 30% minimum is calculated on a dry matter basis, and that it is 30% of the total forage intake and not of the total ration. Obviously, the intent is to prevent the kind of abuses that have been so controversial in the U.S. where some large dairies provide only dry lots or exercise paddocks for their herds. Forage Intake Requirements Section of the COS states in part: FORAGE AND THE CANADIAN ORGANIC STANDARD b. for ruminants, that at least 60% of dry matter in daily rations consists of hay, fresh/dried fodder or silage. c. for ruminant animals, when silage is fed, dry hay is provided for at least 25% of the forage ration. ~ Rob Wallbridge The first clause is self-explanatory, but the second has caused some concern. First, note that the dry hay requirement only applies when silage is being fed animals on pasture and not being fed any silage are not required to eat 25% dry hay. After a year like 2008 however, many farmers are justifiably worried about being able to make enough dry hay of high enough quality to meet this requirement. And wrapped bales at varying moisture levels also add to the confusion. There is no clear answer to the question of at what level of moisture and/or fermentation does hay become silage and if there can be exceptions made for adverse weather conditions. After talking to a couple of different certifiers, it is clear that no one wants to make certification impossible for dairy farmers who are doing their best to maintain the health of their animals. The intent of the standard is obviously to provide enough effective fiber to keep the rumen healthy. If there are cases where dry hay is less than 25% of the forage dry matter intake, the intent and efforts of the producer to feed dry hay and to maintain the health of their animals will be considered. In most cases, failure to meet the standard would be considered a minor noncompliance which the producer would be expected to address the following season. Under the new regulated standard, however, continued non-compliances will not be tolerated, so it will be important to have a plan to come into compliance with the standard. This is obviously an area that may require further clarification by the Standards Interpretation Committee. Some Numbers How exactly do these numbers stack up? Let s use a total dry matter intake of 25kg, for the sake of an easy number to work with. (Assuming that a cow consumes 3% of their bodyweight in dry matter on a daily basis, this number would also be pretty close to reality for a large cow weighing in at a little over 1800 pounds.) Starting with the total forage intake, 60% of 25kg is 15kg (33lbs). So, this cow could be fed up to 10kg (22lbs) of grain per day and still meet the standard (economics are another question!). If some of this forage was in the form of silage, 25% of it would need to be dry hay. 25% of 15kg is 3.75kg, so the cow would need to be fed 8.3 lbs of dry hay daily. During the grazing season, 30% of the dry matter forage intake needs to come from pasture, so 30% of 15kg is 4.5kg (9.9lbs). In other words, during the grazing season, a cow could be eating 10kg(22lbs) of grain, 3.75kg(8.3lbs) of dry hay, 6.75kg(14.9lbs) of silage, and 4.5kg(9.9lbs) of pasture and still be considered organic. Obviously, these are absolute minimums for total forage and pasture intake, but it serves to demonstrate that they should not be difficult to achieve in any way for the vast majority of farms. At the moment, we are developing a form that will help farmers calculate all of these numbers; this can be provided to the inspector or certifier to demonstrate compliance with the Standard. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Field Manager or me directly.
4 VANDERVLOETS FIND ORGANICS SUITS LARGE FAMILY ~ Jenny Butcher Chris s father Frank is still active on the farm and helps with field work. Chris and Barb can now talk about the year before they transitioned to organic with some humour. They were ecstatic to achieve 180 bushels per acre corn yield. At harvest time prices were poor so they put 15, 000 bushels in storage through the fall, awaiting better prices. After paying $9500 for storage fees, their bumper corn crop was finally sold for a dismal $2.35 per bushel. This was just another one of the factors that made Chris and Barb say, There s got to be a better way. In 2005, the VanderVloets began to transition their 450 acres, continuing to grow hay, corn silage, shell corn, soybeans, winter barley, and wheat. Helping one child get started in farming is a great challenge for many families but Chris and Barb VanderVloet have 12 children and are determined to help more than one start farming. This has resulted in a move to organic production and some creative thinking. Chris has always found dairy industry experts to reccomend solving problems on their Parkhill area farm with large capital purchases. When he began considering organic farming, he found that the ideas presented were different and, often resulted in saving money. When addressing a high dairy herd cull rate with dairy industry personnel, the VanderVloets would often get answers like build a new barn or build a new parlour. None of these ideas seemed attractive to Chris and Barb. They liked the idea of keeping labour requirements high on the farm. That way, they would keep more money within their large family, instead of spending it on labour-saving capital expenditures that would direct money off the farm. For example, their 150 head Holstein herd is milked in a single six in-line parlour drastically smaller then the industry norms for their herd size. In fact, it takes two people four hours to milk, three times daily. But, by making do with the same parlour for 37 years, they have saved tens of thousands and that money has been redirected to the children in return for their labour. Chris and Barb achieved certified organic status with their dairy herd in February, They feel farming organically has suited their family well. Because organic farming is more labour intensive, I can see a future for more of our kids in farming, says Chris. There is also more hope that our children can buy small farms and make a living. The eldest five children, Maria, 23, Lucia, 22, Frank, 21, Marinus, 19 and Angie, 18 are all finished high school and have bought into the family farm. They each make an hourly wage and keep track of income and expenses from their portion of the dairy herd. Every Monday night a family meeting is held, orchestrated by the eldest five, where they work out chore responsibilities for the week. Weekly meetings have served an important function for the VanderVloets and the increased organization has allowed them to lead active social lives. All five of the oldest VanderVloets are youth group leaders. One of the advantages of a large family is the way responsibilities are divied out, says Barb. Some of our kids are morning people and some night hawks so they re able to pick up for eachother s slack. Sixteen year old Elsie and fourteen year old Anna attend Holy Cross Secondary School in Strathroy. Adrian, 12, Mary-Beth, 10, Francine, 9 and seven year old Agnes attend Sacred Heart School in Parkhill. The youngest of the family, five year old Peter looks forward to joining his older siblings at Sacred Heart in the fall. The entire family is excited to welcome the arrival of a new little sibling in June. The family has been working with soil expert Keith McKell since From the beginning, he advised them of many organic principles of today minimizing purchased nitrogen, maximizing the value of on-farm manure and enlisting fields in a regular sampling program. McKell takes soil samples from the farm every year before advising on crop planning and inputs. Chris recalls the day they informed McKell that they were transitioning to organic at the kitchen table. Upon hearing the news, he closed the books and got ready to leave. Chris said, No, no, we re going organic and you re coming with us. Chris took Keith on Organic Meadow s 2006 bus trip to Mid Western Bio- Ag s Field Day to begin the organic learning curve. Since then, the two have done a lot of experiments together. According to Chris, Keith has found that the ph of manure has to be less than 7 in order to pull phosphorus out of soft rock phosphorus that is added to the liquid manure pit. For this reason, they have acidified the pit by adding sulphur to the manure before adding phosphorus and had more luck. Chris s family has been surprised to find that their crops seem to handle a lot of weed competition with balanced soil beneath. I think we had the worst looking bean field around last year but it still yielded bushels, says Chris. According to Chris, their flamer has been the biggest breakthrough for weed control since transition began. Chris feels it saved the corn crop with the wet weather last year after controlling weeds in 140 acres at the late, five leaf corn stage. Chris reports that not having to worry about crop input, commodity and fertilizer prices is a lot more relaxing. When he was conventional, keeping track of wind speed and direction and what was planted in neighbouring fields when spraying often resulted in Chris working through the night to spray herbicides in the more still air. Scuffling is such a nice job to do, says Chris. I can do it during the day, no matter what the wind speed and I only have to worry about my own field. I love to see the way the crop takes off after I do it too. Barb likes the idea that there are now far fewer toxins to keep track of on the farm. We found many of the changes through organic transition actually resulted in a better quality of life for our family, says Barb. The VanderVloets are thankful to the staff and fellow members at Organic Meadow for their help through transition. We wouldn t be organic without their help, says Chris. We re thankful to all those who built Organic Meadow so we can be a part of it.
5 Crop Rotation As row crops, both corn and soybeans provide an opening in the crop rotation to control weeds using cultivation between the rows. This can be effective against both broadleaf weeds and grasses, as long as the timing is right. When growing corn, fertility is obviously a major factor to consider corn is a heavy-feeder, and high fertility will result in higher yields. Generally, corn is grown in the rotation after the plowdown of a hay field or legume cover crop in order to make use of the nitrogen fixed by the legumes and to benefit from the lower weed pressure that usually follows sod. It is also common practice to apply livestock manure before the corn crop, either in the previous fall or in the spring, depending on soil and weather conditions. There are, however, farmers without access to manure who still succeed in producing profitable corn crops by relying on the nitrogen fixed by a year or more of legumes like clover or alfalfa (much of the nitrogen accumulated by a soybean crop is exported in the beans). Having said all this, corn may have an undeserved reputation as a crop that is hard on the soil: in the case of grain corn, most of the plant material is returned to the soil, so it can actually contribute more biomass to the soil than a cereal crop, and definitely more than soybeans. Soybeans, on the other hand, do not require a lot of fertility, and too much can actually cause weed problems when the weeds move in to soak up the excess fertility that is not being used by the crop. In some rotations soybeans are planted after corn to take advantage of the tilled field and to add a bit of nitrogen to the soil for a following cereal crop that is then underseeded back to hay. Other, longer rotations, will insert soybeans between two cereal crops. Soybeans are also often seeded after a sod plowdown for the same weed control reason mentioned above; they are better-suited than corn for fields with a low legume content where manure is not available. Establishing a cover crop following soybean harvest is usually possible whereas it is usually not an option following a harvest of grain corn. Some farmers broadcast cover crop seed into a corn or bean crop during the final cultivation; rye is a popular choice for soybeans, and clover, vetch, and grasses have been used in corn fields. Broadcasting cover crop seed at soybean leaf drop is another option, sometimes accomplished by aerial seeding! Seeding Do not rush! While I advised you to get out early and plant spring cereals as soon as possible, corn and soybeans are the opposite. First of all, untreated seed will rot in soil that is not warm enough. Oldtimers advise planting corn when the oak leaves are the size of squirrel s ears, or when the soil is warm enough that you CORN AND SOYBEAN PRODUCTION TIPS would feel comfortable pulling down your pants and sitting in it. For those unable to measure a squirrel s ear or too shy to undress in the field, a thermometer may be an option: corn will emerge in 5 to 10 days at soil temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at 50 degrees it can take 25 to 35 days. Soil that is both cold and too wet can damage the seed and allow diseases to enter. Soybeans of course, will not tolerate frost, so are seeded after the typical frost-free date. Unlike spring cereals that grow quickly in cool temperatures and compete well with early weeds, corn and soybeans grow slowly early in the season and their wide spacing leaves lots of room for weeds to fill in. Therefore, the best strategy for these crops is to start with a clean seedbed. Ideally, you would prepare a seedbed a week or more before you plan on seeding, then let it sit and turn a light shade of green before going in for one light pass with a cultivator or harrow just before you plant it. This way, you will have eliminated the first flush of weeds without bringing more seeds up to the surface. While most growers plant soybeans on wide rows to allow cultivation, some drill soybeans at a 7-inch spacing, counting on a quick canopy to outcompete and shade out the weeds. With a clean seedbed and ideal growing conditions early in the season, this strategy can work, but if there is a lot of weed pressure, especially from grasses, or if there isn t quick and uniform emergence, the soybeans can soon disappear, never to be seen again. Wide rows provide a few more options for weed control. Weed Control As stated above, the best weed control is a clean seedbed. Pre-emergent or blind harrowing is the next most effective tool. In an ideal situation, blind harrowing is completed 24 hours before the crop emerges, so that the crop is off and running before the next batch of weeds can germinate. This usually means harrowing 3 or 4 days after planting, but it is always a good idea to dig down and check the seeds when the seed has germinated but not yet broken the soil surface is the ideal time. Laying a piece of plastic or glass on the ground is another quick method to determine timing the greenhouse effect will have the seeds under the cover emerging a day or so ahead of the rest of the crop. Soybeans are especially tricky in warm, moist soil, they can emerge very quickly. Harrowing too early can actually stimulate weed germination and increase competition between the weeds and the crop. Harrowing depth should be less than 2 inches in order to avoid damaging the crop and bringing up new weed seeds. Increasing seeding rate and seeding depth will both help control damage to the crop from blind harrowing. Tine weeders or finger weeders can also be used in soybeans and corn for post-emergent harrowing once the crop is between the two and four leaf stage. The secret to this operation is to set up the equipment properly (not too deep and aggressive, but not to the point up uprooting the crop), then to drive fast and not look back! Corn is much more sensitive to cultivator blight than soybeans, so extra care is needed. The ideal time for this pass is in the late morning or afternoon on a sunny, dry day when the uprooted weed seedlings will quickly dry out and die. Any type of harrowing is only effective on small weeds less than an inch tall and is more effective on broadleaves than grass. Row cultivation can start once the crop is high enough not to be buried by the cultivator. This will obviously depend on the equipment and the operator shields or row covers can deflect soil away from small plants, and the slower you drive, the less soil you throw into the row. Usually, two cultivations are enough once at the smallest stage and again just before the corn is too high or the soybeans are too canopied to drive through. Doing this cultivation at a high speed will throw soil into the row, burying small weeds, and helping to support the plant. This works well in corn, but you do not want to bury the bottom pods of the bean plant or create too many hazards for the combine. Critical Periods for Weed Control Early weed control is essential in corn and soybeans. Research has demonstrated that corn and soybean plants can sense the presence of weeds nearby and adjust their growth accordingly. Keeping a crop weed-free during this critical period for weed control can keep yield loss below 5%, even under conditions of heavy weed pressure later in the season. Corn s critical period is from the three to eight leaf stage. This usually corresponds to about 34 days after planting. Soybean s critical period is from the first to third trifoliate stage. This is approximately 15 days after emergence. Studies have shown that the timing of the emergence of weeds has more effect on yield than the actual number of weeds present. Weeds that emerge with the crop have a much greater impact than weeds that germinate after the critical period. So while the late flush of ragweed may make your soybeans look terrible, they will not be decreasing the yield. (They may, however, still have an economic impact if they stain the beans at harvest and make them unfit for the food market but that s the topic of another article.) Other Considerations ~ Rob Wallbridge Corn and soybeans are two of the most profitable organic crops to grow; they also provide energy and protein in livestock rations. Although many farmers have a negative impression of corn, a properly-managed crop can do very well, and many of the farmers who grow it actually find it easier to manage than spring cereals.
6 Probablement que la température extérieure ne vous y fait pas penser mais oui la saison de paturage approche a grand pas! Dans cette article je ne veux pas parler ni d herbe,ni des vertus du paturage (elles sont immenses),ni des quantité optimales de matières sèches qu une vache doit ingérer. Non je vais vous parler du plus important des nutriments : l eau. Les nouvelles lois environnementales interdisent l abreuvement des animaux dans les cours d eau,marais et fossés. Il est utile de rappeler que ces pratiques sont dommageables pour la santé des animaux et de l environnement. Par exemple en plus des risques de blessures aux membres,de déchirures ou d écrasement de trayons, plusieurs maladies dont la mammite, le BVD et la leptospirose se transmettent par contact ou consommation d une eau de mauvaise qualité. Piétinées par les vaches les abords d un point d eau deviennent boueux et crée un environnement favorable au développement du piétin. Les animaux sont en plus responsable de la dégradation physique des berges ainsi que de la pollution bactériologique du milieu. Une eau de qualité au paturage s impose donc et c est ce que nous allons voir. Il semble que lorsqu un troupeau ne produit pas selon son potentiel,on s attarde énormement à l équilibre et à la qualité de la ration,en oubliant souvent de considérer l eau comme premier nutriment. Proportionnellement à leur poids,les vaches laitières hautes productrices ont des besoins en eau plus élevés que n importe quel autre mammifère terrestre. Voyez plutot : - - DE NOUVELLES PRATIQUES DES BESOINS VITAUX La consommation moyenne des vaches en production se situe entre 65 et 90 litres par jour avec des pointes pouvant dépasser 140l pour certains animaux! Les vaches taries consomment,elles 35 à 40 litres par jour. POURQUOI TOUTE CETTE EAU? A quoi sert toute cette eau chez une vache? Petit rappel histoire de se «rafraichir»la mémoire. Il faut 3 à 7 litre d eau pour digérer 1kg de matière sèche et 3l pour produire 1kg de lait faite le calcul et cela fait beaucoup d eau. En plus de cela l herbe fraiche fourni un haut pourcentage d eau d excellente qualité contenu dans les cellules de la plante. L EAU AU PATURAGE Au delà de ces besoins «mécaniques» l eau fraiche en régulant la température corporelle permet à la vache de manger plus.en effet 1 litre d eau à 10 degrés Celsius va capter 28 Kcal pour se réchauffer jusqu à la température corporelle de la vache soit 38.3 degrés. Pour finir en dépensant moins d énergie pour se rafraichir les vaches disposent de plus grande quantités pour produire du lait. LA QUALITE DE LEAU Apporter une eau non potable à des animaux est interdit et dangereux et il y à encore beaucoup à faire aussi je voudrais rappeler l importance de la qualité du liquide sur la consommation. UNE MAUVAISE ODEUR ET UN MAUVAIS GOUT: soufre,manganèse,fer,chlore à surveiller. Attention aux bouses de vaches a partir de 0.25% d excréments dans un bac et la consommation diminue. Les algues sont aussi responsable de la baisse de consommation. ATTENTION AUX ÉLÉMENTS CHIMIQUES TOXIQUES: le cadmium, plomb, arsenic et mercure en excès sont un risque pour la santé des bovins. Les produits phytosanitaires et les engrais utilisés en agriculture conventionnelle peuvent se retrouver dans votre eau qui du coup ne sera plus bio! CONTROLER LES BACTÉRIES : le nombre de colliformes fécaux doit être en deca de 1 pour 1 litre d eau pour les jeunes animaux et 10 pour les adultes. Les streptocoques fécaux ne doivent pas dépasser 3 et 30 pour 1 litre pour les veaux et adultes. LA TEMPÉRATURE DE L,EAU EST IMPORTANTE : De nombreuses études montrent qu en condition de paturage par temps chaud les vaches ayant accès à de l eau fraiche (entre 7 et 15 degrès C) ont une meilleure ingestion de matière sèche et une augmentation de la production laitière de plus de 2kg par jour. QUEN EST T-IL EN PRATIQUE? Durant l été il m arrive de voir encore beaucoup de systèmes d abreuvement qui fournissent soit pas assez d eau à la fois ou bien une eau tiède ou qui a mauvaise odeur. Souvent aussi le site d abreuvement n est pas bien choisi. Voyons ce qu il en est. PAS TROP LOIN POUR BOIRE! La distance parcourue par les vaches pour boire influence la quantité d eau absorbée à chaque fois qu elles s abreuvent. Si l abreuvoir est à moins de 200m, les vaches vont s abreuver ~ Fabrice Roche par petit groupe sans se presser. Par contre si la distance excède 200m le troupeau se déplace massivement,chaque vache prend plus longtemps pour boire et les risques de bousculade augmentent.en période très chaude ( + de 28 degrès C) et à partir de 400m les vaches négligent le paturage et demeurent près du point d eau. Par contre si le site d abreuvement n est pas en zone ombragé les animaux ne vont pas boire et dans les 2 cas la consommation d herbe diminue et vous êtes perdant. LA CAPACITÉ DE L ABREUVOIR La fraicheur de l eau est,on l a vu primordial et il faut rechercher une zone ombragée stratégique qui ne sera pas ni dans un coin de cloture ou trop près de la barrière d accès du parc. La capacité de l abreuvoir est également important sans toutefois excéder les besoins du troupeau sans quoi l eau ne va pas se renouveller assez rapidement et se réchauffer. Pour calculer la capacité d un abreuvoir il faut prendre en compte les facteurs suivants : les besoins du troupeau, le débit du système d approvisionnement,la distance à parcourir, l accès de 10% du troupeau à la fois.bref un bassin situé à 200m doit avoir une capacité correspondant au quart des besoins journaliers en eau du troupeau et le débit de son système de remplissage doit permettre de le remplir en une heure maximum. PEU IMPORTE LE SYSTÈME Le choix de n importe quel système d abreuvement est un compromis entre plusieurs paramètres techniques et humains que chacun doit définir pour sa situation mais si il répond aux exigences que nous venons de voir il sera forcement bon pour vous et surtout pour elles! A vos calculs pour offrir cette année une eau fraiche et de qualité à vos vaches. Sources «Guide des bovins laitiers» produit par le Conseil des productions animales du Québec «Guide interactif de l abreuvement au paturage» La buvette France. «Gestion del,eau d abreuvement au paturage» OMAFRA janvier 2006
7 ATTENTION-ATTENTION-ATTENTION-ATTENTION- CLUB DE PRODUCTEURS LAITIERS FRANCOPHONES les prochaines journées du club auront lieux le lundi 4 mai prochain chez cyril et myriam schneider de glen robertson pour parler de l emploi de l argile hydraté sur le troupeau.louise coté va nous montrer les résultats de son produit sur plusieurs fermes dont celle des schneider..l après-midi chez albert bott nous ferons une démonstration d écornage de veaux. nous nous retrouverons ensuite le jeudi 25 juin a la ferme de kornel schneider de curran en compagnie de robert berthiaume et de hubert mc lelland pour parler paturage intensif les pieds dans l herbe. la date de la journée consacrée au contrôle des mauvaises herbes n est The Fifth Annual Alfred Conference on Organic Dairying and Dairy Research included a farm tour this year. The day started with a tour of Pinehedge Farm from St. Eugene and later the group visited Dameya Holsteins, located outside Glen Robertson. Josef Heinzle welcomed the group to Pinehedge Farm by serving farm processed yogurt and kefir to the visitors. The group split into three to enjoy a plant tour, including the milk receiving area and the packaging and shipping dock. The culturing process impressed visitors. While on the tour we saw three hired people washing glass jars by hand. We later learned that they wash per year equating to three full time jobs! We continued the tour to the bio digester now in operation, collecting methane from the manure. The very dangerous green house gas is transformed to energy which runs the generator of electricity connected to the grid. This operation helps reduce green house gas emanation. The farm is no longer an energy consumer, but, more than that, it provides electricity to consumers! Next the group toured the Heinzle s free stall barn where people were surprised to see horned cows. Josef explained the relation between 5TH. ANUAL CONFERENCE ON ORGANIC DAIRYING AND DAIRY RESEARCH ~ Fabrice Roche pas encore arrêtée.nous savons cependant quelle se déroulera chez thomas vinet de l orignal a la fin juillet. démonstration de matériel de hersage et binage de céréales, mais et soya et présentation de la cuma bio (coopérative d utilisation de matériel agricole). pour toutes ces journées le lunch est offert avec une priorité au membre du club. aussi je voudrais que les personnes intéressées me téléphones pour me prévenir de leur présence. pour me contacter : au (819) ou ~ Fabrice Roche the horned cows and the rest of the universe and many interesting questions followed his presentation of the biodynamic philosophy. We had to cut the discussion to respect our agenda and load the bus to reach the next farm outside the neighbouring village of Glen Robertson. The Dameya Holstein farm is always a pleasure to visit and everybody was thrilled by the tour and the excellent meal prepared by Myriam, her daughter Danica and neighbours. Cyril and Myriam proudly introduced their farm operation in the yard before the group entered the barn. Visitors found a great atmosphere in their clean and comfortable environment. Dennis Simard, the Alfred College herd manager commented that the Scheider farm would be a place he would be pleased to work. The cows looked very quiet and comfortable in their ~ tie stall barn. The passion for genetics, particularly the red Holstein, started good discussions between all the participants who were impressed by the high production level on their certified organic farm. Thank you to our host farms for giving us a chance to see how their operations run under the hood. We are all confident about the take home message carried out by our visitors regarding organic dairy production. The Western and Eastern Organic Symposiums, held in early April were a tremendous success, with a combined attendance of about 170 people. It featured Dr. Hubert Karremen, an organic veterinarian whose book Treating Dairy Cows Naturally is one of the most recommended in the industry. The seminar also featured expert organic farmers, Mary Howell and Klaas Martens. They farm 1400 certified organic acres in the finger lakes region of New York State. Their June 2009 Field to Fork ORGANIC CROP SYMPOSIUMS presentation focused on the importance of Cultural Weed Control. The principles of cultural weed control are: (a.) developing good soil fertility, (b) proper timing of crop operations, (c) crop competition, (d) proper crop rotation, (e) managing biological triggers, (f) using allopathic cover crops, (g) selecting proper seed varieties, (h) ensuring seed vigor. Mary Howell and Klass spoke at length on the importance of each of the above aspects of weed control to successful cropping. ~ Marshall King They also talked about the different types of mechanical cultivation, and when and why each of them would be appropriate. They described 3 ways to kill weeds: (1) Drying them out, (2) Burying them, (3) Disrupting or breaking them. The Martens explained how different tillage equipment, particularly the tine weeder, and the cultivator could be used to kill weeds in those ways. Both days were filled with ideas and questions. We look forward to hosting it again next spring Winter Visit Roundup
8 CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE Certified organic hay 1st. cut, no rain. Alfalfa Timothy. Small square bales. Contact: Elam Weber - (519) Certified organic hay 1st. cut 5x6 round bales. Bred and open heifers Purebred holsteins and various crosses with Dutch Belted, Norwegian Red, Brown Swiss and Jersey Contact: Steve Martin (519) UPCOMING EVENTS: Eastern Ontario Pasture Walks with Jack Kyle, Pasture Specialist, OMAFRA Monday, May 11th. 10:30am to 3:00pm Booyink s BOFI Farm, Willy Allan Rd., St. Andrews West, ON (613) Tuesday, May 12th., 10:30am to 3:00pm McCoy s Sunny Crest Farm, 1614 Snake River Line, Cobden, ON (613) For more information and to register, contact Rob Wallbridge at (613) or Pasture Walk Jack Kyle, Grazier Specialist, OMAFRA & Making $$ from Forages Workshop Joel Bagg, OMAFRA Forages Specialist Thursday, May 21th. 7:00 pm Raindate: Thursday, May 28 For more information and to register, contact Carolyn Geer at (705) or UPCOMING EVENTS: Barrie Waterfront Festival Heritage Park, Barrie May 30 & 31st., 2009 Murray MacLauchlan Saturday - 4 pm. Oakville Waterfront Festival June 26-28, 2009 Coronation, Park, Oakville Murray MacLauchlan - TBA please mark your calendar AGM for July 21, 2009 To submit your articles, events or classifieds to the newsletter, call Kathy (519) ext. 437 or CONTACT US Tel: (519) Fax: (519) YOUR FIELD REPS. Member Relations Mgr. Shelly Juurlink (519) ext. 438 Western Ontario Jenny Butcher (519) Central Ontario Carolyn Geer (705) Eastern Ontario Rob Wallbridge (613) Nova Scotia Mike Main (902) Francophone Ontario Fabrice Roche (819) Manitoba Pauline Nadlersmith (204) Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: R.R.#5 Guelph, ON N1H 6J2
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