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!