TIOGA COUNTY – A Tioga County dairy farm has received special recognition for practices that help protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Stronghaven Farm in Barton won a Dairying for Tomorrow honorable mention from the American Dairy Association North East.
Stronghaven has 300 Holstein cows and grows feed for them across 2 thousand acres that it owns or leases.
Working with the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District, the farm has implemented a number of procedures aimed at reducing soil erosion and the runoff of phosphorous into the nearby Susquehanna River which leads to the Chesapeake.
Matthew Strong, whose grandfather started the farm in 1971, says one technique is injecting manure for fertilizer directly into the soil, rather than spreading it on top.
Strong says this not only keeps the manure from washing away in the rain, but evaporating as well.
“If manure isn’t incorporated into the ground, within 24 hours you lose, don’t quote me on the numbers, but I would say I think it’s like 50% of the nitrogen on a 70 degree day will go off in the air. So, we are able to capture a lot more of our nutrients that’s in our manure by going to the manure injection,” says Strong.
Plus, Strong says it smells less.
Stronghaven also plants cover crops like wheat or barley for the winter after harvesting its corn to reduce erosion.
And it’s also switched to no till farming, planting the next year’s crop into the old one, eliminating the need to turn the soil over.
That has the added benefit of saving fuel and equipment maintenance that comes with plowing.
Stronghaven, which is operated by Matthew, his father, uncle and 2 brothers, was nominated by the Maryland-Virginia Coop where it trucks its milk every other day.