This past Saturday November 4th, we had our last field trip visiting our own University of Delaware Newark farm. We were toured around by Scott Hopkins who oversees the operations on the farm.
The Newark farm consists of greenhouses, crop plants, wetlands, and livestock. The farm is roughly 350 acres of land. The first stop Scott took us to were the two green houses where students have the opportunity to plant crops and record/analyze the growth. If the plant was to die, then the students had to weigh in factors of how the plant could have died. We then visited the dairy cows and the milk parlor, here Scott gave us the rundown on how the feeding operation and as well the milking is done. The cows are trained to go to an assigned cubby, here they have FABS on which gives access to food. There are between 80-85 cows being milked numerous times a day here they use an anti-bacterial spray before milking and after milking. Each cow produces between 6-8 gallons of milk each day. The milk is retrieved and goes to the basement of the parlor. Scott then showed us where the calf’s stay which is a big doggy pen where they’ll stay for 2-3 months. The calves are goofy and attempted on sucking on everything! From here we went to the bus and went up the road where we stopped at the poultry section. Here there were multiple houses for different types of chickens where research is taken placed.
Upon arriving the other side of the farm, we drove passed the wetlands which have been designed through the Wildlife Ecology group. On this side of the farm the beef cattle, the ewes, and the horses are held. We first went to the equine building where the horses and as well classes are held, there were six stables and as well two areas for either artificial insemination or for class purposes. Scott mentioned that the stables are opened instead of being enclosed to keep the horses comfortable. We were then taken to Scott’s “biggest failure” compost section where compost is placed until it reaches around 130 degrees and then it is placed wherever seen fit. After this we went to the ewe’s farm here we learned that the ewes have been placed in two groups one group with the older ram and the other group with the younger ram. When rams have mounted a female, spray paint is placed to show which female has been mounted. Lastly, we went to the beef cattle section where the cattle are raised on a free-ranged land to graze until it’s time for slaughter. Scott was very passionate about his job and made sure we understood that being experienced in the field is better than being book smart. He was very knowledgeable and took this opportunity to show the farm off quite seriously making sure we retained information.