Last Saturday on November 1st, we went on a tour of the UD farm. More specifically we focused on the different animals that the farm works with and how they are used in the agriculture industry. However, oddly enough we didn’t take tours of the poultry part of the farm but we did get a tour of the cows and the equipment used to milk them. It was fascinating finding out that the milking process was not only time consuming, but also required many different aspects to the programming of the machine. Each cows milking specification varied and any issue that occurs could mess up the process drastically. Other parts we toured were the sheep, which are mostly slaughtered. Overall what I gained from the tour was the the process of running has many different aspects such as cleaning the cows, mixing the feed, and collecting the waste. There’s no job that is simple and if not done correctly could end up reducing the productiveness of the farm.
On November 2, 2019, our class had its last field trip and to none other than the University’s own research farm. Out of all the field trips, this one was the most informative to me. There is a lot that goes into maintaining a research farm that many people do not understand. Scott Hopkins, the superintendent of the research farm, explained to our class that there are various tasks and responsibilities that are required in maintaining the farm but even so, he loves it. What he loves most, is when he shows people with very little or no knowledge of farming what goes on and seeing the look they have in their eyes; full of awe and amazement. Some of the people, however, that don’t come with some background knowledge can also be a problem. “Always ask before doing anything on another person’s farm!” Scott Hopkins advised. Many times people have done things like touch an animal or pick crops that put either the animal or the human at risk. He explained that some people will just pick some corn and it was part of a research experiment so not only did they mess up the data, but may have also endangered themselves. Even so, Scott Hopkins also enjoys all of the data analysis and research because “I’m kind of science-brained so it’s all pretty exciting to me.” The most exciting research project to him was artificially inseminating a group of queen bees with a single drone. Due to advancements in technology, he is able to experience these great milestones in science and agriculture.
On November 2nd, the class traveled up to Newark, Delaware to meet Scott Hopkins, a superintendent and crop manager of the researched-based Webb Farm on the UD campus. He introduced to us the importance of research done on the farm with livestock as well as crops. Currently, the farm contains Dorset sheep, an Angus cattle herd and equine herd with greenhouses and acreage used for leafy greens, tomatoes, okra, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and other produce. Large portions of the fresh fruit and vegetables grown there follow the Fresh to You segment which delivers organics to subscribing customer’s doorsteps. This farm also provides for farmers markets and shopping centers. Scott Hopkins works on and conducts research on cow milk, their feed, and sheep wool as shown in the photos below. He gave the class a tour of the areas where the livestock are kept and how they are taken care of. While showing us the farm on campus, he told us that his most favorite thing about working in his position is teaching students about the agricultural experience, because today, many people have become separated from knowing how their food made its way to their plate. He brought up the topic of agriculture and explained the scientific approach to it, which I think is very important to consumers to ensure the health of ourselves as well as the animals and plant products we consume every day.
In November 2nd, 2019, my class took a field trip in webb farm and dairy farm of university of Delaware. I have been there several time in last semester, and the bad smell are so familiar. UD farm grows crops and vegetables in the field, but they didn’t serve for dining halls in main campus. The yield is not enough to satisfies the needs. But they do sell to the star campus. We saw several herds of sheep, dairy cattle and horses. UD farm even grows rice and raise bees for research. There are over 100 cows in dairy farm. They can produce 800 gallons of milk per day. Staffs use automatic milker machine to milk cows. Because of biosecurity and efficiency. And I noticed that some cows have weird “windows” in their side of body. It allows the researchers to reach inside the animal’s stomach and analyze the contents. If the cow was sick, researcher will take other healthy cow’s stomach contents and put into the sick cow’s stomach to see if it cures the cow. In the webb farm, we luckily saw 4 cute lambs. What a wonderful trip!
This was the second time that I’ve taken a tour of the UD south campus farms, so I was pretty familiar with everything there. First we went to see the organic farm, which is used for classes and the produce is sold. We then saw the dairy cows and their milking facility. Dairy cows are my favorite farm animal because they are like large dogs, they just want to be loved. They seemed pretty relaxed and chill, and I appreciated that. We then saw a bit more of where they keep the dairy cows and saw the machines where they keep them in place when working on their feet or giving them any sort of treatments.
Next we went past the chickens, though we didn’t go in, because we could track in viruses or diseases that could be harmful to the chickens. After that, we went past the bees and their hive as well has some other small farms used for classes and research.
Once we crossed the road, we got to the sheep and horses stable. Sadly, they didn’t have any horses at the time, but our guide showed us some of the reasons why the stables were built in the specific way. For example, the sides of each enclosed stable is see through so that the horses can see each other. I also found out that horses are one of two mammals that can actually stop their labor and continue at another time.
Next we saw the sheep and some lambs. I got to pet a lamb for the first time. There were also some older cows next to the sheep, who were also chilling much like the dairy cows. The sheep have access to the outside to roam around when they feel like it, but the one sheep and the two lambs did not have a very open space, because one had a medical problem, and it’s easier to get them for treatment in a smaller enclosement. I enjoyed our more in depth tour of the farm, but I wish it wasn’t so cold!
In the class, guest speaker James Adkins, works at the UD research farm, had talked about the development of irrigation system. Water is an essential part of farming. In the past, irrigation systems were not developed well, so they may wast water and cost more for a long term. Over time, the irrigation system has been improved. It not only save the water resource and prevent pest and disease problem. it does good and efficient work. There are some areas are lack of water resource, like California. Advanced irrigation system gives a big help! The soil quality could tell how much water needed. after this lecture, i understand how important the combination of water and soil. and how important the soil and water mean to farmland.
As a pre-veterinary student I felt as though I knew all there was to know about the amazing research farm we have here on campus. Every semester so far I have had a few classes down on South campus and if I wasn’t directly on the farm for class, I got to smell it! Even though I had seen the dairy farm, Webb farm and the poultry houses prior to this field trip I learned so much about what goes on at each of these facilities. Scott Hopkins, University of Delaware’s farm superintendent, took us around and went in depth about experiments both successes and failures, different classes that are offered on the farm to target non-agriculture students, new technology that’s been included in each facility to help advance research, management practices and so much more! Even though it’s a close runner-up playing with the calves wasn’t my favorite part of this field trip. Scott Hopkins shared a ton of information with us about the research farm and I took a lot away from it that I can’t wait to share with others but if there was one thing overall that I took away from this trip is, there is always more to learn! I went into this field trip thinking I was going to know everything he talked about and I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself amazed with all of the new things I learned about the farm after the field trip was over!
On November 4th, my class had the privilege of meeting the University of Delaware’s Newark farms superintendent, Scott Hopkins, who led the tour for us. We started the tour with an introduction to the dairy herd that supplies us our beloved UDairy ice cream. Scott Hopkins explained that the dairy herd was the most difficult and time consuming livestock on the farm due to the amount labor, time and research that goes into the herd. I found it really interesting to see how feed studies were conducted on a herd within by the use of ID collars that would sync with a specific feed bin that granted that specific cow access to its feed. This practice helps to conclude that technology plays a major role in livestock production. We then moved onto the poultry section of the farm where he explained to us why there were so many small shed-like houses. These are used for testing immunology and virolity amongst small flocks of birds. I think that this field of research is so fascinating and important, especially since the poultry industry is huge to the Delmarva area. Next, we ventured to Webb Farm where we learned about the beef management practices, equine practices, as well as the sheep practices. Currently, the farm is tracking estrous in the ewes and are monitoring breedings and whether or not the ewes take. They track this by recording which ewes have the color coded chalk on their backs – marking a mounting by the ram – and crossing the presence of chalk with their estrous cycles. Scott was very informational and provided a lot of insight into how much work really goes into running a successful farming operation. He was well versed and had a tremendously wide amount of knowledge. I learned a lot on this trip and I hope to continue learning more about management practices throughout my time here at the University of Delaware
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the research farm this past Saturday. But, after getting the notes and talking with a classmate, I can see that it was an extremely educational and fun trip. Students were able to see the cows and calves, and learn how the ice cream for the creamery is made. They got an in-depth tour of the farm, and got a better understanding for how it all works. I regret not being able to make it to the trip, but I am definitely interested in hearing more about it from my classmates.
This previous Saturday, I spent time at the University of Delaware farm. I was so intrigued to see how this farm is able to teach students hands-on techniques in a manner that is safe and understandable. I was so amazed at the fact that dairy cows are taught where they are to feed and they are smart enough to retain that information and store it in their memories. I also really enjoyed how honest the farm manager was. He didn’t sugar-coat any type of information that we should know and made sure we knew to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Walking through the farm was such a different experience than being on main campus. Everything is so calm, whereas main campus is always bustling. Seeing the mini versions of the chicken houses was also interesting, especially because we got to compare it to the full size version at Georgie’s farm. Overall, I very much enjoyed this field trip, especially the UDairy!
This past Saturday was our last field trip that I, unfortunately, could not make it to. But, fortunately, I have been to the Webb Farm many times in many other classes over the past 3 years. The dairy, beef, sheep, chicken, and horse facilities are great for research and learning about the different livestock used today. My freshman year I was fortunate to be in a class that allowed us to visit every building and learn about each. I heard that the superintendent, Scott Hopkins, mentioned that the dairy cows are the most challenging animal to care for on the farm. It is very labor intensive to control such a large herd let alone milk them twice a day. They are also put on feed trails to conduct studies on how diet affects their milk production and even how pregnancy affects their diet and milk production. The beef cattle are also great for research and for studying the effect of being fed more grass rather than grain. The sheep facility is the most interesting to me because before coming to the University I had no previous exposure to sheep. It is very cool to know they use crayons on the females for mating to see when the sheep are in heat. They are very much herd animals that are hard to separate. My favorite part of the farm is the horses. They are very interesting animals that can even stop birth if they think the conditions are not right. Not only are they accident prone, but they are very versatile to use for things like therapeutic riding, and even weight pulling. I’m very grateful to be able to attend a university with such great resources close enough to walk to.
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour and see all of the behind scenes of a local orchard and farming operation in Camden, Delaware. While here, Bobby Fifer gave us the run down of their operations, how technology has a played a huge role in production and how produce gets from field to store. It was really interesting to learn about how apples were packaged and shipped off. Bobby said that apples are hand harvested from the field and then brought to the packing warehouse where they are fed through piece of equipment that can sort around 10 apples per second, all based off of a picture that it takes. The apples are then fed to the assembly line where they are packaged into boxes that will be sent all up and down the East Coast. Curt Fifer then chimed in and shared with us some food for thought. With recent storm events, getting their products to the consumers has not only become extremely difficult due to the lack of refrigerated trucks available, but also very expensive – costs more than doubled just to ship a truck load to Florida. It was really interesting learning about about the processing and shipping side of their operations. Many things that Curt and Bobby discussed and shared were eye opening – a lot of crucial factors to their business are behind scenes that go unnoticed or thought about by the consumer. Fifer Orchards was truly an amazing operation.
Our recent trip to Fifer Orchards was very interesting. It was the first time that I’ve been behind the scenes at an orchard or farm of that size, and I thought it was an incredible operation. We drove out to a field which was growing kale and broccoli first, and learned about how they are grown; as well as challenge like disease,insects and the weather. I also learned about the purpose of raised beds when growing strawberries. The purpose of the raised beds is to keep the crop out of the water, and control the amount of irrigation they are getting. After seeing some of Fifer Orchards’ fields, we went and saw the apple orchard. They currently grow over 20 types of apples, and make many of their own products with those apples. They also ship the apples all over the east coast. Finally, we saw their packing area and cold storage. They have a machine that can separate good and bad apples, tomatoes, and peaches through a computer program. It was amazing to see what a large operation Fifer Orchards is and to learn about agriculture and business aspects of running a farm like that.
At September twenty-third, 2017, we went to the Fifer Orchards farm, which is located in Camden Wyoming, DE, one hour drive from the University of Delaware. It is a family farm and the fourth generation. What is more, It is the season of apples and pumpkins. We went to the apple picking area where tourist also can go to pick up apples by themselves. The field, next to it, is a huge area of the strawberry field. In the past, I thought the way to water them is rotating sprinklers on pipes. What I saw in the field is drip irrigation. Pipes are put inside of the soil and the soil is covered by black plastic materials. Drip irrigation is a slow process to provide water and fertilizer to plant roots. Because it is on the inside of the soil, it does well on keeping the perfect moisture and keeping the plant surface dry which saves water resource and reduces disease and pest problems.
Since they plant the variety of vegetable and fruit in different time of the seasons, there must be a most profitable one, which is the sweet corn. When we think about farm markets, we may think there may be a competition between the weekly farmer markets located across the state and the Fifer Orchards farm, but the fact is the Fifer Orchards farm sell products to them. In the end, we arrived their market shopping area. All kinds of delicious apples and pretty pumpkins. I am really glad I got the chance to visit here with my professors and classmates.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the field trip to the organic poultry farm because of another class field trip, but after hearing Mrs. Cartanza speak to us and gathering notes from a class-mate, it looked like a very fun and informational trip. Previously, I knew very little about poultry farms, or how America gets it’s chicken. In class, Mrs. Cartanza explained how a poultry farm works, and all of the interesting technology involved. I was amazed at how much easier chicken farming is with that technology. In the pictures that were taken on the trip, I can see the large fans and heaters that control the climate in the chicken houses. I also learned the difference between organic chicken and non-organic, and what Mrs. Cartanza had to do to ensure her chickens were organic. It is interesting to me that none of the chickens are allowed to have vaccines to keep them healthy, and can only be given vinegar in some occasions. It was also shocking to learn from a classmate that organic chicken feed is 3 times as expensive as normal feed. Overall, I learned a lot about the poultry industry and wish I could’ve seen the chicken houses in person.