NJ RC&D was mentioned in a recent article in Progressive Dairymen, entitled, Red Barn Milk Company brings bottling back to New Jersey
The article highlights local dairy farmer, Jared Weeks at Hun-Val Farm. North Jersey RC&D was instrumental in helping him construct a compost-bedded pack barn, where youngstock and bred heifers are housed. The manure and bedding is aerated regularly and ultimately spread onto the fields. This barn, designed by Weeks, also has 30 freestalls for dry cows, bedded with mattresses.
“It’s been a huge asset to my operation,” he says.
HunVal Dairy farm originally housed and continuously grazed about 130 animal units on 50 acres of sloping pasture bordered by a stream in the Neshanic Watershed. A Heavy Use Area Protection (HUAP) was constructed for dry cows, steers and young stock on the “Home” Farm in order to eliminate 102 animal units from the "Dairy" farm. This positively impacted water quality in the Neshanic watershed by reducing the animal footprint in and around the barnyard and greatly minimizing nutrients that are directly entering the Dunkard Church Rd tributary.
There are two sites in which Jared raises cattle on, and for ease of identification, we will call one site the “Dairy” site and the other “Home Farm”. The “Dairy” farm’s heavy use area and barnyard area drain directly into the nearby Dunkard Church Rd tributary.
The cattle cross the tributary twice daily during the warm seasons to access a degraded pasture split by another smaller tributary. Stocking rate within the pasture was three times higher than the recommended rate, leading to overgrazing and erosion. Cattle grazing within the pasture have unrestricted access to the stream which is highly eroded, and completely lacking in a vegetative buffer. These practices introduced excessive fecal coliform, phosphorus and total suspended sediments into the water column.
North Jersey RC&D assisted Hun-Val Farm construct a Heavy Use Area Protection (HUAP) for the dry cows, steers and young stock on the “Home Farm”. This eliminated 80+ animal units on the “Dairy” farm thus positively impacting water quality for the Neshanic watershed by reducing lot runoff and nutrients that would have otherwise directly entering the Dunkard Church Rd tributary of the Neshanic River.
The completed HUP was 220'x60'. It included a waste handling system, runoff management system, vegetative treatment area, fence, drywell and underground outlet. A series of 30 stalls were installed and a removable manure storage component will allow the any seasonally unused portions of the manure storage to be converted into loafing space for additional cattle. Cattle were give access to x acres of pasture via a network of graded trails and walkways.
PARTNERS AND FUNDING
North Jersey RC&D worked closely in the implementation of this project with NJ DEP and the landowner.
The comprehensive nutrient management plan and project design, permits were completed by NRCS staff with EQIP funding.
The funding was provided through the NJDEP by means of a Section 319(h) implementation grant. Additional funds were supplied by NRCS EQIP contract and the producer, Hun-Val Farms.