Start Farming Blog
Firewood is an important source of heat for many Pennsylvania residents. As the weather turns colder, a lot of folks are gathering firewood for the winter. Unfortunately, firewood is also an important source of invasive problems, and moving it around can spread damaging insects and diseases. You should use local firewood as much as possible.
Think of your pasture like your lawn. As we get into November and the temperatures cool off, you will likely mow your lawn a couple times and then you are done for the year. Your pasture grasses are similar; they are a cool season grass whose growth slows and becomes dormant during winter. Manage your grazing like you do your lawn, when you stop mowing your lawn for the year you should also likely stop grazing your pasture.
Growers can get a jump on fungal and bacterial disease management for the 2016 season this fall. A review of tips to manage apple scab, fire blight, peach leaf curl, cherry leaf spot, bacterial canker, and fungal fruit rots are discussed.
Broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) has been a pest of tropical, subtropical and greenhouse crops for over a century, and has been problematic for pepper growers in PA for the last couple of years. Now we can add blackberries to the list of crops that they frequent.
The Penn State Extension Horticulture, Start Farming, and Pesticide Education Teams have produced two new videos on integrated pest management practices and soil health.
Rutgers University will be offering programs on “ultra-niche” production, which is growing exceptionally high-value crops that can provide a significant source of income to the farmer while using minimal land area. The goal of the project is to teach new and beginning farmers nationwide–virtually and in-person–about the cultivation, marketing and business management of farming 18 “ultra-niche crops, including strawberries, basil, roselle, sweet potato vine, hot peppers and mushrooms.
The Penn State Extension Horticulture, Start Farming, and Pesticide Education Teams have produced three new videos on integrated pest management practices for sustainable establishment and management of apple orchards.
The National Center for Farmworker Health has created a guide for agricultural workers that describes benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The guide is in English and is available for sharing.
Women Harvest - Growing Food, Families and Empowerment. Wednesday November 4th, Union Project in Highland Park, 801 N. Negley Ave (corner Negley and Stanton) 7–9 p.m. Come connect with other women in Pittsburgh and the region who grow food, garden, cook for and care for their households, and are interested in health/food/women’s empowerment. Sponsored by Pennsylvania Women in Agriculture Network (PA WAgN). Bring along a sweet or savory snack to share if you can but it is not required. Drinks will be provided. It will be a relaxed and fun night! Please forward to other women who may be interested.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency has expanded the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program to provide very low-interest financing to farmers to build or upgrade storage for meat, dairy, and eggs.
Whether you plan on raising chickens, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or horses there are some basics that you should know first before taking the jump into production. Keys to success in raising livestock include knowledge of goals, options, and resources. Knowing these key points will help to shape your farm and make it successful in the long run.
As with integrated pest management for insect pests, IPM for wildlife management involves integrating several control methods simultaneously or alternately, and the key to success is routine monitoring. Effective scouting entails assessing wildlife and predator populations, wildlife habitats and behaviors, damage patterns, possible impacts on nontarget organisms and various conditions that may influence control efficacy.
The demand for local hops is creating a renewed interest in growing hops. A team of Penn State Extension Educators and Specialists recently received funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block program to study hops.
Not only insecticides but also some fungicides and herbicides are harmful to bees. The following are some general guidelines to protect bees from pesticides.
Spotted wing drosophila is present just about anywhere we look these days—even in berry fields where fruit is no longer present.
Dairy farming requires a large capital investment. Land, buildings, equipment, and cows are expensive and few new dairy farmers have the capital required to purchase everything when first getting started. Extension Dairy Educator, Mat Haan weighs in on two potential options for getting a start in the industry.
Composting and compost provide numerous opportunities for farmers to improve their production systems. Potential income either directly from tipping fees or selling surplus compost, or indirectly from increased production supported by compost-improved soil. Here we share the benefits and drawbacks of 4 compost production methods, as well as 6 straightforward tips for using compost.
Penn State is teaming up with establishing farmers to help new farmers become more profitable, productive, and sustainable. With funding from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher project the Penn State Start Farming team is offering study circles, courses and “Models for the Future” demonstration plots.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released a "Checklist for Self-Assessment of Enhanced Poultry Biosecurity" and training materials as part of ongoing preparation efforts for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
If you are new to farming or thinking of starting your farm next year, soil testing is probably the last thing on your mind. But come winter, when you are doing your planning for next year, you will want to have that soil test in hand. You will need the results to calculate what nutrients to apply and how much you need so you can complete your orders and have your crop plan ready.