Environmental stewardship is critical to the success of New York’s family dairy farms, and on National Farmer’s Day we are thankful to our neighbors – both agricultural and residential, for always putting the sustainability of our natural resources first. Environmental stewardship means we are responsible and respectful of the resources we use every day. By recycling and repurposing manure on dairy farms, our industry is able to give back to the land that we are all so fortunate to use, while continuing to produce the food and fiber needed to furnish the needs of our herds.
In Livingston County, Coyne Farms works closely with our CAFO Planner and Certified Crop Advisor to strategize a year-round program to manage crops and nutrients to feed the cattle and nurture the soil where the crops are produced. CAFO, which is short for concentrated animal feeding operation, is a system used on farms with more than 300 milking cows to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible. This also keeps family dairy farms working to ensure the best interests of our environment and natural springs are at the forefront of seasonal farm planning. We believe that a minimal tillage crop rotation, proper manure application, and the use of cover crops are essential to environmental stewardship.
We incorporate manure into the soil to be sure we capture the most value possible out of the product. We often remind ourselves during manure application, “If you can smell the manure, we’re losing nutrient value, and if we’re losing nutrient value then we’re missing out on reuse and recycle!”
In addition, cover crops help eliminate erosion, reduce soil compaction, sequester nutrients, make the soil more porous – which can increase water holding capacity, along with many more benefits. The recent addition of a no-till drill will help our farm meet these cover cropping goals.
And we’re fortunate to have industry-leading land stewards right up the road from us. Crop Manager Forrest Watson and the entire team at Mulligan Farm have been a great source of knowledge as we have grown to appreciate many different land stewardship practices.
October 12 was National Farmer’s Day, but every day we’re grateful for our neighbors and our team at Coyne Farms. We’re thankful to the community for continuing to support local farms throughout the Finger Lakes region, and we are looking forward to continuing on our farm’s stewardship journey.
Liam Coyne is a co-owner of Coyne Farms Inc. in Avon. The farm is a member of the Northeast Dairy Producers Association.