On November 10th, we took a tour of the University of Delaware farm by the farm superintendent Mr. Hopkins. At the university, we are extremely fortunate to have a fully-operational farm on campus. This is something very few universities in the area can claim.
Our tour began by going through the UD organic farm where the Fresh 2 You gardens and high tunnels are. This garden provides produce to restaurants and the University. From there we moved to the milking parlor. Knowing very little about dairy operations, I was shocked at how much technology goes into the process. The milking machines are capable of testing many different qualities of the milk to ensure that the product is sufficient. Furthermore, those who run the parlor are very meticulous about checking for many health standards in the cows, like mastitis. We then went to the dairy barn where we learned about how UD can conduct research on dairy nutrition and how various diets can impact milk production. Through this experience it became very clear how multifaceted dairy production truly is.
Next, we transitioned to the Webb Farm where we first focused on equine production. UD has a few horses, a small arena, and a teaching stable. We then moved to the sheep barn, where we learned about various nutritional and breeding strategies being used in the sheep production. The herd also provides wool used to create blankets at UDairy. Finally we saw the beef cattle herd from afar.
Despite being a very cold day, the tour was extremely engaging and made me very excited for my next 4 years in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.