Agricultural Management Projects

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Manure Storage in Manchester

This Waste Storage and Transfer System provides 4.2 million gallons of storage in a concrete manure storage structure adjacent to the base farm. This allows the farm to transition from a daily spreading operation to now having adequate storage to time manure application during appropriate weather conditions during times of optimal nutrient uptake to meet crop needs. Through the completion of this project, this farm now has 6 months of storage capacity. This project also included an access road to the manure storage.

 
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Manure Storage in Geneva

This Waste Storage and Transfer System provides 2 million gallons of storage in a concrete manure storage structure adjacent to the base farm.  This allows the farm to transition from a daily spreading operation to now having adequate storage to time manure application during appropriate weather conditions during times of optimal nutrient uptake to meet crop needs. Through the completion of this project, the farm now has 6 months of storage capacity.     

 
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Sprayer Technology in Geneva

As part of a local orchard's Pest Management Implentation Project, they installed 2 Hiniker spray control unit retrofits on existing sprayers to allow the farm better control of the volume of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.  The farm has seen a significant reduction in total chemicals used since the retrofits were installed.  The sprayers with the new volume control units show an estimated 20-30% reduction in chemical use vs the continuous stream of spray chemicals that is typical of an orchard tower sprayer. These units are part of a larger Integrated Pest Management system that includes scouting, determining the economic threshold, and then spraying the minimum amount needed to treat the identified pest threats.  

The application of various chemicals during the growing season is an important tool to have when growing food. It is important for the health and safety of the surrounding soils and water resources that things such as pesticides and herbicides be applied at the appropriate rates and in the appropriate locations. Smart sprayer technology allows farms to ensure that the chemicals they are applying to crops are being applied at the correct rates in the correct locations. This technology is able to regulate flows through the sprayers and even detect gaps in crops preventing over application of certain pesticides and herbicides. This technology helps to protect the quality and soils and water resources in the area.

 
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Manure Storage in Gorham

Manure storages allow farms to store manure until conditions are ideal for spreading on fields. This ensures that the right amount of manure is applied at the correct time, optimizing nutrient uptake by crops and reducing runoff into the landscape.  This storage increases the farms storage capacity to 6 months and eliminates the need to spread during less than favorable conditions.

 
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Covered Barnyard & Access Control Project

Ontario County SWCD recently completed a livestock heavy use area runoff management system on a farm in the Town of Farmington. This project consisted of installing a covered barnyard over an outdoor cattle feeding area as well as installing a roof-water runoff management system. This best management practice keeps clean water from mixing with manure and becoming nutrient laden runoff. The manure will be removed from the covered barnyard and spread on the farm cropland based on soil tests and sound nutrient management guidelines. This project was completed with assistance provided through the NYS Ag & Markets AEM Implementation Grant Program. This project provides a permanent perimeter fence for the farm operator, while also protecting natural resources from livestock impacts. Additionally, the farm has divided up the interior of the pasture in multiple paddocks to allow for a rotational grazing of the herd, as well as for haying some fields for first cutting before the cows graze the 2nd growth. Fencing is often used as a common sense, economical, conservation tool on many livestock operations. 

 

Rotational Grazing Project in Bristol

The Ontario County SWCD recently completed a 15 acre prescribed grazing management project on a farm in the Town of Bristol. This project consisted of setting up multiple pasture paddocks for rotational grazing of beef cattle. The project used 5450 feet of 4 strand high tensile fencing to exclude livestock from adjacent streams, ponds and wetlands and included the implementation of over 2 acres of riparian buffer areas for additional resource protection. The project also installed 175 feet of access road to the pasture to allow for a stable entrance for small farm equipment. This project was completed in the Genesee River Watershed as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).This project provides a permanent perimeter fence for the farm operator, while also protecting natural resources from livestock impacts. Fencing is often used as a common sense, economical conservation tool on many livestock operations.

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Cover Crops

Cover crops provide soil protection, seasonal water management and additional nutrients to the soil after a crop has been harvested. Cover crops can be planted using several methods with the most common being either broadcast seeded or interseeded. Common species used for cover crops include buckwheat, rye, clover and radish; however many species, both annual and perennial, can be used as cover crops depending on the needs of your soil. The cover crop will stay on the field throughout the winter. This reduces soil and nutrient runoff into our local waterways and helps improve soil health for next year’s crop.

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Interseeding Cover Crops

The Ontario County SWCD works with several local farms to interseed cover crops into existing crop stands. By interseeding cover crops in June or July, this ensures that the cover crop has ideal growing conditions and a long enough growing period to reach maturity. Interseeding differs from broadcast seeding in that the seed is able to be planted is a specific location within a pre-existing crop. Cover crops are a vital tool which allows producers to help keep valuable soil and nutrients from leaving  cropland. Initial moisture and sunlight are key in getting the cover crop started in an interseeding program. Once the crop has started growing, it may go dormant due to shading, but after the primary crop is either harvested or dries down, the interseeded crop will resume growing. The primary use of interseeding is in stands of late harvested corn grain, but local producers are also trying it out on soybean and cabbage fields.

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Water Retention Basin

The basin collects upslope storm water and allows this water to exit the cropland in a non-erosive manner over several hours following a storm event rather than all at once. This project helps protect downslope agricultural land and public infrastructure as while reducing erosion caused by stormwater runoff.

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Water Retention Basin in Geneva

This project installed a 195,000 gallon 1/3ac upland water retention basin on agricultural lands along County Road 6 in the Town of Geneva. The retention basin collects stormwater that is produced off a 50 acre watershed at a volumes up to 59 cubic feet per second (CFS); the water will be stored in an earthen basin and released through an controlled outlet resulting in up to an 80% reduction in water volume leaving the fields in a 10 year storm event. The basin is intended to allow stormwater to exit the cropland in a non-erosive manner over several hours, or even days following a storm event rather than all at once. The completed basin can store over 260,000 gallons of water in total, with 195,000 gallons of storage above the controlled outlet point. This project helps protect downslope agricultural lands and public infrastructure as while reducing erosion caused by stormwater runoff.  

 
 
 
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Grassed Waterway in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed

This project included the installation of a 750’Lx30’W grassed waterway and a ¼ acre Water and Sediment Control Basin(WASCOB) with a 600’ underground outlet system on a tract of farmland in the Town of Gorham. Combined, these two best management practices control and convey almost 60 CFS of storm water across the cropland. These projects have the potential to reduce soil loss by up to 3.5 tons of soil/acre/year in the affected area. The projects were installed with minimal disturbance to the farms tillable production acreage. 

 
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Grassed Waterway in West Bloomfield

This grassed waterway project was installed on a 43 acre parcel in the Town of West Bloomfield that has been experiencing significant concentrated flows through the field, leading to erosion and loss of soil to the nearby tributary to Honeoye Creek via Bebee Creek.  In order to control the erosion and reduce sediment and nutrient loss to nearby streams, a 1750’ ft grassed waterway with a stone lined surface inlet and stone apron outlet was installed. The waterway is 35’ Wide and 1’ deep and can pass over 80CFS of high water flow. A 6 inch underground support line was installed under the waterway to aid in drainage and allow for machinery crossing. It is estimated that this waterway will save 260 tons of soil loss over the lifespan of the best management practice.

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Water & Sediment Control Basins in Farmington

As Part of our Round 24 Ag NPS Mud Creek Erosion Control Project, the Ontario SWCD constructed 3 Water & Sediment Control Basins on a farm in the Town of Canandaigua. These basins were edge of field practices, with no agricultural land taken out of production. The project used small berms and the shape of the natural landscape to store water in woodland basins, where the water is then conveyed off the cropland through an underground outlet system. The combined 3 basin system stores over 600,000 gallons of water and prevents over 20 tons of soil lost per acre. The project worked around trees instead of removing them, and additional water storage below the outlet level provides a important wildlife value to these water quality protection projects.

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Erosion Control Project in Canadice

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This erosion control project consisted of a Water and Sediment Control Basin (WASCOB) installed on the sloped hillside between Honeoye and Canadice Lakes. The project site is on a row crop field that is directly adjacent a tributary to Honeoye Lake. The project field is a 12 acre corn field that has a road along its entire uphill length. At this site, two slight road ditches discharge in a low spot at the top of the corn field, leading to a volume of water washing across the field during rain and thaw events. This resulted in visible erosion gully erosion with an annual average depth of 1’ deep and about 500’ in length. The farm had been working with the SWCD to come up some options to get the erosion in this field under control. The solution for this site was to contain the surface flow and convey it off the field in a non-erosive manner using the installed WASCOB system that will now contain water during rain events and convey it to an adequate outlet using an underground outlet system.

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Erosion Control Project in Gorham

The Ontario County SWCD partnered with the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council and the Town of Gorham on an erosion control project with cost-share funding provided through the Finger Lakes Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) program. The project consisted of installing 2 water control structures along with the stabilization of 700’ of streambank on a length of stream that was severely eroding through a farm field. This project resulted in the installation of both water retention as well as hard structures to control water volumes and help prevent erosion. This project will prevent the loss of an estimated 52.5 tons of soil per year on the stretch of treated streambank.

 
 
 
 
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Grassed Waterway in Bloomfield

A grassed waterway was installed at this location which resulted in a total of 1.8 acres being converted to perennial grasses and removed from production. The waterway has an underground tile running the length of it for a total of approximately 2,700 feet. This waterway will slow erosion across the field and help to keep valuable topsoil from being washed away.

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Upland Water Retention in the Town of Geneva

With funding from the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA), the Ontario County SWCD was able to help a farmer in the Seneca Lake Watershed install two 1/4 acre upland water retention basins on agricultural lands along Reed Road in the Town of Geneva, along with a grassed waterway downslope of the basins to convey additional water off the property. The basins collect upslope storm water and allow this water to exit the cropland in a non-erosive manner over several hours following a storm event rather than all at once. These projects help protect downslope agricultural land and public infrastructure while reducing erosion caused by stormwater runoff. Ontario County SWCD staff oversaw the design, construction, and implementation, and secured the necessary permits.

 

Grazing System Project in Gorham

Ontario County SWCD completed a watering system as part of a prescribed rotational grazing system on a farm in the Town of Gorham with cost-share funding through the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program. The project consisted of installing a water well and a watering facility to act as a pasture water supply. This project will allow for prescribed grazing on up to 40 acres of pasturelands. The well installed through this project feeds a buried 1,725 gallon reserve tank that is then connected into a pressure tank that serves 820’ of uphill underground water lines connected to a frost free hydrant system. The farm can now run additional above ground lines from these hydrants on its grazing rotations and allow the animals to fulfill their watering needs without having to leave the distant paddocks. A well-managed grazing system can help reduce sediment and nutrient losses to the watershed by spreading nutrients out across the pasture and reducing overgrazing, thus, improving the condition of the groundcover and forages in a pasture system.

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Pasture Improvement Project in Richmond

The Ontario County SWCD recently completed a project using funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Genesee River Watershed Phosphorus and Sediment Reduction Program. This project consisted of 1,850 feet of fence and 600 feet of underground outlet installed on a farm in the Town of Richmond to control surface water runoff as well as set-up the pasture for rotational grazing. This project intends to convey clean water through the pasture system using the underground outlet system. The new fence system allows the livestock to better utilize the available pasture without denuding the soil surface. This project has an estimated soil savings of 12 tons of soil per year on the affected pasture land as well as additional nutrient savings through improved barnyard drainage.

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Pasture Improvement Project in Farmington

The Ontario County SWCD recently completed a project using funding through our Base AEM program. This project addressed a priority concern in their Ontario County SWCD-developed Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. The farm had several concentrated water flows that directly entered the beef cattle wintering barnyard causing a contaminated runoff concern. This project diverted the water away from the barnyard to 800 ft of solid underground outlet and 20 ft of rock lined outlet conveying clean water around the farmstead. 

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Agricultural Diversion Project in Richmond

Using Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, Ontario County SWCD recently partnered with Livingston County SWCD to complete 1200’ of upland water diversions on a farm in the Genesee River Watershed. The project encompassed acreage in both counties and protects 15 acres of cropland that was prone to severe gully erosion. This structural erosion control project collects a large volume of upland water and conveys it off the cropland in a non-erosive manner using a combination of surface channels and underground outlets, resulting in an estimated 120 tons of soil saved per year.

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Gully Erosion at project site before diversion

 

Upland Water Retention in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed

Ontario County SWCD recently completed an upland water retention basin on agricultural lands in the Canandaigua Lake Watershed. This project consisted of installing a water collection basin with a surface inlet that drains into a large underground outlet system. This project collects up to 72,000 gallons of surface water that was eroding the downslope agricultural field. By placing the structure at the tree line, no agricultural acreage was taken out of production. The basin results in an annual soil savings of 32 tons of soil saved per year. This project was cost shared through the Finger Lakes Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) Grant program.

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Completed upland water storage basin with surface inlet

 

Manure Storage in Seneca

This Waste Storage System provides 7 million gallons of storage in a lined earthen manure storage structure adjacent to the farmstead.  This farm operates as a heifer replacement operation and the installation of this storage allows the farm to help meet the growing demand in the area. The farm will be able to store manure through the winter months and only apply manure to fields when conditions are favorable.     

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Manure Storage in Hopewell

This storage provides the farm with an additional 3 million gallons of storage in a lined, earthen storage located at a satellite location on the farmstead. This additional storage capacity allows the farm to now store 6 months of manure, allowing the farm to more strategically apply manure only when conditions are optimal and avoid spreading during the winter or during periods when the ground is saturated.

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Water and Sediment Control Project in South Bristol

This project consists of a ½ acre water and sediment control basin and 950 feet of underground pipe to eliminate a severe gully erosion problem on a Vineyard operation located directly on the hillside of Canandaigua Lake. The installed upland basin can collect and hold up to 20,000 cubic feet of water that enters the basin at volumes up to 5.5 cubic feet per second and has an adjustable outlet to slow this release rate for a water volume reduction of 80% at the project site. This project also involved pulling back many vineyard rows to repair the existing gully erosion damage and provided  a stable underground outlet system, that when combined with the basin, saves 32 tons of soil per year.

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Manure Storage Completed in Town of Phelps

We recently worked with a farm to help install a waste storage and transfer project with funding from the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. This project consisted of installing a 3.7 million gallon lined manure storage and a 1.3 million gallon lined silage leachate waste storage facility on a dairy farm in the Town of Phelps. This new waste storage facility gives the farm the ability to store over 6 months of manure as well as the ability to store all annual low flow and high flow runoff from the bunk silos. This project was unique in that it allowed us to repurpose the old earthen manure storage into a useful Best Management Practice (BMP) by re-grading out the storage basin and lining it with a plastic liner so it could hold the silage bunk runoff.  All waste streams are piped underground from the farm to the new facility. The high flow bunk silo runoff can now be stored, diluted and used for irrigation if needed. All other stored waste product will be applied the farm cropland per the farm Certified Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP).

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Grassed Waterway in Town of Seneca

This large structural erosion control project consisted of a 2,300 ft long, 30’ wide, 1’ deep grassed waterway system installed to control gully erosion caused by concentrated water volumes washing across a large tract of cropland. The waterway included a large 12" underground outlet system that was installed under the waterway to handle low water flows between storm runoff events. This grassed waterway has over 35cfs capacity and will convey all large storm events across the farmland in a non-erosive manner. Spreading the water volumes through a wide, shallow, sod channel that follows the natural contour of the land allows us to slow down the velocity of the water leaving the cropland. The completed project has an expected soil savings of 92 tons of soil saved per year on the affected acreage.

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Grassed Waterway in Town Canandaigua

Ontario County SWCD recently completed a large structural erosion control project as part of our Mud Creek Erosion Control Project funded through Round 24 of the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution (Ag NPS) Abatement and Control Program. This project included a 1,600ft grassed waterway that was completed on a farm in the Town of Canandaigua (see photos of project 1). The project addressed a massive erosion gully through the center of a large farm field that was losing soil at a rate of over 20 tons of soil loss per acre per year. The grassed waterway involved both cuts and fills to repair the existing gully erosion and the new waterway now spreads the water volume over a 1ft deep and 35ft wide sod channel that follows the natural contour of the land. This grassed waterway allows the water to flow across the field in a non-erosive manner while also reducing the total velocity of the water leaving the site, further reducing downslope impacts. Total soil savings on this project are over 150 tons of soil per year!

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Grassed Waterway in Town Canandaigua

At this location, a deep gully had formed which made it difficult to work the field while also contributing significant amounts of sediment to a tributary of Mud Creek. The completed 500 foot long grassed waterway is 35 feet wide by 1 foot deep and allows stormwater to be conveyed across the field in a non-erosive manner thereby significantly reducing the amount of sediment and nutrients being transported and deposited in Mud Creek.

 

Grassed Waterway in Town Canandaigua

This first site had two areas of erosion starting at a hedgerow and creating large gullies which bisected the field.  At this location, the rolling topography set up well to install two basins just inside the field to capture water volumes at the start of each gully. The accompanying 1,800 foot long underground tile system ties the two basins together and transports the water in a non-erosive manner to a controlled outlet at the other side of the field.

 

The second site had a large volume of water which needed to be transported in a non-erosive manner along a field edge which had previously caused issues with drainage and flooding. A diversion swale was installed to maintain the integrity of the surrounding agricultural land and allow for an outlet for additional underground drainage. 

 

Erosion & Sediment Control in East Bloomfield

Using Genesee River Basin Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI) funding, Ontario County SWCD recently completed a large structural erosion control project on agricultural lands in the Town of East Bloomfield. This project was our final installation funded through this GLRI program and we worked right up to the buzzer including working through snow to get the job done. The project consisted of 1,150ft of 8-10 inch smooth wall underground outlet, two surface inlets, and a 300ft long, ½ acre farmable Water and Sediment Control Basin (WASCOB). Prior to this project, surface water runoff was forming gully erosion across 6 acres of downslope cropland at a rate of 8 tons of soil loss per acre per year, or 48 tons per year across the affected project site. This project will reduce downslope erosion by 75% for an estimated soil savings of 36 tons per acre per year.

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Erosion & Sediment Control in East Bloomfield

We completed an upland water retention system consisting of a dual Water and Sediment Control Basin (WASCOB) system installed on a farm in the Town of East Bloomfield. This site had two erosion gullies splitting off into multiple directions due to rolling topography on a steep hillside. On this site we installed two ⅓ acre basins that each intend to catch a single erosion gully. A large 2,300ft underground outlet system is connected into the basin system to convey the stormwater off the farmland. This project has an expected soil savings of 92 tons of soil per year.

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