ON THE FARM WITH AUGUSTA CO-OP: POLO, A SOPHISTICATED SPORT, AIMS FOR BROAD APPEAL

With years of playing and coaching polo, Lou Lopez starts each day welcoming students on the UVa Polo Farm.  As General Manager & Head Coach of the Virginia Polo Center in Charlottesville, each day brings new faces and new polo-lopezexperiences.

Growing up in the Northeast and studying agriculture at Colorado State University, Mr. Lopez's love for horses, education and agriculture runs deep.  Lou began his professional career as an agriculture educator and followed his passion to becoming UVa's polo coach 14 years ago.  "Polo is a huge part of my life and always will be", said Lou.  A genuine quote, after starting numerous polo clubs throughout the country and winning 8 national collegiate titles.

The Virginia Polo Center is a 75 acre facility that provides University of Virginia students, both men and women, an affordable opportunity to experience the sport of polo.  Additionally, in the summer months, Virginia Polo offers polo lessons for all ages and riding skill levels.

In keeping with the philosophy of the founders, Virginia Polo strives to instill in every student the merits of responsibility, hard work and dedication.  In return, the polo-logostudents reap the rewards of fellowship, teamwork and have an opportunity to compete in an intercollegiate sport at the national level.  These valuable lessons endure throughout their personal and professional lives long after college.  Virginia Polo is a student run organization in which all members share responsibility equally and the Board of Directors is dedicated to providing sound management and financial support for the 55 horses and 42 polo riders.  Virginia Polo is not supported by the University of Virginia and relies primarily on outside financial sources throughout the year.

With a strong mission, comes great leadership.  Both elected and volunteer leaders of the polo center are continuously finding ways to improve its facility, riders and horses.  Top notch instructors, superior equine management protocols, quality horses and industry leading equine nutrition are all some of the focus each day.

Thpolo-kidse future of Virginia Polo is bright.  Lou, the Board of Directors and staff continue to build the program both off and on the field.  Most recently, the polo center received a large donation to build a new facility.  The facility will be called the Beh House and will serve to host polo teams in the near future, including the high school polo nationals this coming April.

"The Virginia Polo Center is a testament of a successful polo facility.  Not only successful horsemen and equine enthusiasts, they are dedicated to investing in their animals, people and local community," said Daniel Phillips, Assistant General Manager of Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau, Inc.  Augusta Co-op is proud to provide quality equine feed to the Virginia Polo Center.

To help support the Virginia Polo Center, contact Lou Lopez at (434)979-0293.

 

As we enter into the late summer and early fall season, it is time to start considering fall application of nitrogen on stockpiled pasture. Stockpiling pasture can save considerable cost to grazing operations. Cool season grasses, such as fescue and orchard grass respond very well, which makes up the majority of pastures in this area.  Strip grazing also aids in the continued vigor of the cool season grasses throughout the winter.  The general time to apply nitrogen to pastures or pastured hay fields is mid-August through September.

There are lots of advantages to fall application of fertilizer on pasture.  The general response from a fall fertilizer application is around 20 lbs of dry matter increase per lb of nitrogen applied per acre.  The forage will have an average protein of 14% and have a higher TDN from October to December than typical dry baled hay.  Applying fall fertilizer can reduce winter feeding cost by as much as $100.00/cow/year.  Fall calves can have a typical gain of 2 lbs/head/day and cows will have better body condition going into the winter months.  Also consider the health of your pasture or hay field.  Fall application of fertilizer will increase winter hardiness, root development, and faster 'green up' in the spring, which can help with weed control.

Potash is a critical nutrient to grass.  As a matter of fact, grass can use as much potash in a hay season as nitrogen in the course of a year.  It is a good agronomic decision to apply potash to pastures and hay fields in the fall for root development, crown health and development and drought tolerance for the next season.  Potash has been at a substantially low price this season, another strong reason to consider potash this fall.  Potash is a nutrient that we all need and in a lot of cases is low in soil tests across the Shenandoah Valley.  In a pasture setting, an application of 50 to 75 lbs of potash per acre will be sufficient and in a hay field setting, an application of 100 lbs per acre is very typical.  If poultry litter is utilized, then potash may need to be added, as poultry litter is low in potash compared to the grass crop's needs.  Again, the reason to consider potash is two-fold; it increases stand health, longevity, and yield and the price this fall is very low.

If you have any questions regarding agronomic needs, contact Troy Grimm at (540)885-1265.

For various reasons, most of us have extra unused pesticides stored somewhere on the farm.  Perhaps we bought some extra one time and then decided to use something else - maybe we forgot about some that has been sitting on the shelf and it has been exposed to adverse weather conditions that now make the pesticide unusable.  Sometimes, Grandpa or Dad left some pesticide on the shelf, and we inherited the pesticide.  The good news is that there is an outstanding program in Virginia to clean up the mess!

Below is a link to a brochure that describes various pesticide cleanup days that will be held around Virginia during September and October 2016.  Take the time to clean up those unused pesticides on your farm - An ounce of prevention can prevent a serious mess down the road!  Don't let that adorable new puppy you just got wander into a mess because of their natural curiosity at a young age.  Don't let your kids or grandkids suffer a needless trip to the hospital because they consumed a poisonous pesticide when you weren't around.  Reduce your liability on the farm.  Take advantage of this outstanding program with no questions asked!

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Augusta Cooperative names Mountain Hollow Dairy of Harrisonburg, VA an 'Outstanding Dairy'.

Mountain Hollow Dairy, owned by the Wenger family, was honored with one of four Augusta Cooperative 'Outstanding Dairy' Awards during June Dairy Month 2016.  This award is presented to dairy operations who demonstrate a commitment to the Virginia dairy industry, outstanding stewardship to the land, and maintaining superior animal health practices.

Purchased by Eldon Wenger, the farm was converted into a 60 Holstein cow dairy operation in the mid 1990's.  Since then, the operation has expanded to over 100 cows.  Eldon's son, Gerald and Raymond are now part of the operation.  In addition to the dairy, the Wenger family owns a poultry and row crop operation.

Mountain Hollow Dairy is in the business of producing high quality milk while maintaining superior cow comfort through traditional technologies.  Outstanding genetics, superior rations and feed efficiency remain at the forefront for the dairy and their success.  They have worked to perfect these principles with their collaboration over the years.  Diversification to their operation has also allowed the second generation to maintain involvement on the farm.

"The Wengers are a testament to the success of traditional dairying.  Proving that the basics of nutrition, cow comfort and proper management not only leads to profitability but overall stability of a dairy operation" said Daniel Phillips, Assistant General Manager of Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau, Inc.  "Mountain Hollow Dairy is a provider of milk to one of the region's largest milk cooperatives, the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative.  Augusta Cooperative is proud to service the Wenger family.  On behalf of Augusta Cooperative, in celebration of June Dairy Month, we want to extend a special thank you to the Wenger family for their dedication to the dairy industry and for providing our country with quality milk each and every day."

Rilara signRilara Holsteins, owned by Riley & Barbara Wagner of Bridgewater, VA was recognized by the Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau, Inc. as an 'Outstanding Dairy' during June Dairy Month 2016.

Rilara Holsteins operates an 80 cow registered Holstein dairy and row crop operation managed by Riley, Barbara, their son Kirk and hired hands, Cody and Carlos.  With over 55 years in the dairy business, the Wagner family has bred and raised over 130 'Excellent' cows, a prestigious rRilara cowating that the Holstein Association, USA considers to be the top ranking genetic score.  In addition, for the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Holstein Association, the Wagners were honored in the 'Cows of the Century Contest'.  Twenty-six registered Holsteins bred by Virginia breeders were nominated, only seven were honored.  'Rilara Mars Las Ravena' was one of the seven.

The Wagners were also recognized as a Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Gold Standard Dairy in 2012.  DFA's Gold Standard Dairy Program, one of the first in the industry, is an on-farm best practices evaluation program that assesses operations in the areas of animal care and wellness, environmental stewardship, employee training and milk safety and quality.  The program assesses, analyzes and provides feedback regarding on-farm practices, encourages continuous improvement and recognizes achievements.

On the farm, the Wagner family continues to implement traditional technologies in their operation.  Outstanding genetics, superior rations, cow comfort and feed efficiency remain at the forefront for the dairy and their success.  They have worked to perfect these principles with their collaboration over the years.

Off the farm, the family is active with many community events and trade industry associations, such as the Virginia Holstein Association.  Barbara currently is the chair for this year's 100th Virginia Holstein Association Anniversary Committee.  The Wagners are honored to be part of the association and have an active role in the festivities this year.

Wagner picture"The Wagners are a testament to the success of traditional dairying.  Proving that the basics of excellent nutrition, cow comfort and proper management not only leads to profitability but overall stability of a dairy operation.  Not only successful farmers and conservationists, they are also dedicated to investing in people, trade associations and the agricultural community," said Daniel Phillips, Assistant General Manager of Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau, Inc.  "Rilara Holsteins is a provider of milk to one of the nation's largest milk cooperatives, the Dairy Farmers of America.  Augusta Cooperative is proud to service Rilara Holsteins.  On behalf of Augusta Cooperative, in celebration of June Dairy Month, we want to extend a special thank you to the Wagner family for their dedication to the dairy industry and for providing our country with quality milk each and every day."