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 PD-Arrow-Small e-Leader 
April 2016
 In this issue:
  • Concentrated Flow Erosion Prevention
  • Cornell Dairy Center of Excellence: A Symposium of Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Dairy Production
  • PRO-DAIRY hires Joe Lawrence as Dairy Forage Crop Production System Specialist
  • Recordings of PRO-DAIRY Webinars Available Online

Concentrated Flow Erosion Prevention:  

Tips for Grassed Waterways and Water and Sediment Control Basins (WASCOBs)

Intensive storms on bare or emerging fields can produce sheet and rill erosion and also gully erosion. This was very evident on many fields during the spring of 2015.

The Concentrated Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) requires erosion control, and the application of Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE 2) takes care of sheet and rill erosion. Concentrated flow erosion is not addressed by RUSLE 2 and must be taken care of on a case by case basis. Some plans may need more careful review in this area.

Changes in field management, aging practices and continued climate change with wetter springs and frequent and more intense storms suggest that managing these areas will continue to get harder. Concentrated flow erosion is controlled by establishing grassed waterways or using water and sediment control basins (WASCOBs) to store flows and then slowly release them to reduce the erosive energy of flow. Erosion and the associated nutrient transport ends up in water bodies as a pollution source. Gully formation and topsoil loss has an economic impact on crop production and disrupts field activities.

Both Grassed Waterways and WASCOBs need to be carefully planned, designed, and constructed to work properly. NRCS has standards (Grassed Waterways 412 and WASCOBs 638) to follow for best results and are required if they are cost-shared. Both of these practices need to fit the cropping system for them to continue to function. Sizing the waterways to be twice the most critical equipment width and with a shallow, parabolic cross section (less than 2’ deep) are best so they may be harvested as hay and crossed for other field operations.

Size the front and back slope of the WASCOB so it can be farmed with a 5:1 or flatter slope and at least one equipment width wide with the berm parallel to field operations. This will yield a minimal loss of productive area around the riser. Both practices should be installed in conjunction with a tile drainage system. A tile parallel with the waterway, but outside 2/3rds of the cross section so the tile trench won’t wash out will keep the waterway drained for field operations and is vital for establishment.

A surface intake at the upper end of the waterway will help reduce intermittent flows that are detrimental to establishment and maintenance to promote vigorous vegetation in the center. The storage upstream of the WASCOB needs to be sufficient to reduce the peak flows so they can be slowly released (but not so long the crop is damaged) into a tile outlet. Storage is created by using the existing topography, enlarging the pooling area with excavation to build the berm, and the height of the berm.

Surface inlets need to be placed properly so they don’t get manure spread within 100’ upstream of them or 35’ if vegetative buffer. Careful consideration should be given for tile outlet locations. Outlet tiles so that they can be monitored and with room to install a treatment system at the outlet if needed. Ideally, outlets should be located where water can be further filtered or absorbed. While this may not be possible in many situations, be alert for such sites.

The waterway establishment is difficult if flows occur before the grass is vigorous. Divert the flows until the waterway is established, or use turf reinforcement fabric or a stone center to control the erosion before the grass can grow. If constructing a diversion-waterway outlet system build the waterway before diversions are built.
Structures that protect water quality practices such as barnyards, manure storages, or VTAs need to minimally contain the 25 year 24 hour storm and be designed by an engineer. Crop field erosion control waterways and WASCOBs should contain the 10 year 24 hour storm.

Identify if your farm has locations that need to be addressed, and get help from your CNMP planner, Engineer, SWCD, or NRCS.
All conservation practices need O&M. Waterway cross sections need to be protected from ruts and sedimentation and includes maintaining healthy vegetation. WASCOB berm height needs to be maintained and sediment removed from the basin to retain the storage volume. Both systems may require maintenance of the tile lines. Properly designed, constructed and maintained erosion protection practices will protect your fields from erosion, gully formation, and reduce sediment and nutrient delivery downstream.

Contact Us:

For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit

Julie Berry, Editor  |  Tom Overton, Director  |  Facebook

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Cornell Dairy Center of Excellence:
A Symposium of Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Dairy Production

Join a conversation with scientists, producers, and industry representatives to discuss making dairy products in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable. The symposium agenda includes a keynote presentation by Mike McCloskey, DVM, Select Milk Producers and Fair Oaks Farm. Register by April 25.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Cornell University
Stocking Hall Convention Center
Ithaca, New York 14853 

PRO-DAIRY hires Joe Lawrence as Dairy Forage Crop Production System Specialist

PRO-DAIRY has hired Joe Lawrence as Dairy Forage Crop Production System Specialist. This newly created Extension Associate position enhances the capacity of PRO-DAIRY and results from a response to industry needs and increased funding from New York State in 2015 – 2016.

“We are pleased to expand the capacity of PRO-DAIRY with the hire of Lawrence,” said PRO-DAIRY Director Tom Overton. “Lawrence will work statewide in a number of areas related to forage production and quality.”

Lawrence has an MS in Soil Science from Cornell University and most recently worked as an agronomist for an agribusiness in Lewis County. Previously he worked as a Field Crops Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lewis County and is a Certified Crop Advisor and Commercial Pesticide Applicator. He also serves on the Northeast Region Certified Crop Advisor Board of Directors and previously served on the New York State Agri-business Association Board of Directors.

As Forage Crop Production System Specialist, Lawrence will focus on optimizing home-grown forage production and utilization for economic and environmental benefits, including use of impact evaluation tools such as whole farm nutrient balance assessments. Programming will emphasize data-driven decision-making and may include elements of crop selection and rotation, fertilizer and manure management, forage evaluation including corn silage yield and digestibility, and precision farming techniques.

Read the full release about Lawrence's hire on the PRO-DAIRY website.

Recordings of PRO-DAIRY Webinars Available Online

PRO-DAIRY in partnership with DairyBusiness East launched a weekly webinar series each Thursday from November through March. Recordings of some of the webinars are now available on the PRO-DAIRY Webinars website. Click on "View the WebEx recording of this webinar under each title.

Each webinar is also approved for one continuing education unit (CEU) from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS).

Available webinar recordings include:

Using Test Day Data to Manage Udder Health and Milk Quality.
Dr. Rick Watters, PhD, Regional Director of Quality Milk Production Services, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

Valuing Farmland Proximity - methods for valuing proximity in farmland purchasing decisions.
Jennifer E. Ifft, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mueller Family Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in Agribusiness and Farm Management, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University.

Heifer nutrition and economics - What the new edition of the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System tells us. Dr. Mike Van Amburgh,  Professor of Dairy Management, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University.

Shredlage - What have we learned.
Dr. Larry Chase, Associate Professor of Dairy Cattle Nutrition, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University.

Hot topics in transition cow nutrition.
Dr. Tom Overton, Professor of Dairy Management, Cornell University, Director, PRO-DAIRY, Associate Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Animal Science, Agriculture and Food Systems.

Clinical mastitis treatment decisions and using pathogen ID.
Dr. Daryl Van Nydam, Associate Professor, Cornell University, Director, Quality Milk Production Services, College of Veterinary Medicine.

Rumination and Activity Monitors Update. Dr. Matias Stangaferro, DVM, MS, PhD candidate in the Giordano Lab.

Reproductive Management-Focus on 2nd and Subsequent Service.
Dr. Julio Giordano, DVM, MS, PhD. Cornell University Assist. Professor – Dairy Cattle Biology and Management.

Reproductive Management-1st Service.
Dr. Julio Giordano, DVM, MS, PhD. Cornell University Assist. Professor – Dairy Cattle Biology and Management.

Genetics on the Farm.
Dr. Heather J. Huson, Ph.D. Cornell University Asst. Professor, Animal Geneticist.

Plan your Response to Manure Spills and Other Emergencies.
Mark Burger, Onondaga Soil & Water District Manager.

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