On November 10th, 2018 we went on a trip to UD’s farm. Even though it was cold and windy I had a lot of fun getting to see new parts of the farm I had never been into yet. Scott Hopkins gave us a tour and talked about everything that goes on there. He is the farm superintendent and told us that the farm consists of an organic farm, horses, sheep, 25 beef cattle, and 85 dairy cattle. The farm provides its food products to restaurants and to UD students through a produce stand, Star Campus, and UDairy. He also wasn’t sure what to say as the most exciting research project when asked due to them all being interesting for different things. On the farm they have research being done with everything from bees to rice.
For me I enjoyed seeing the new parts of the farm I hadn’t been to yet since I’m a plant science and landscape horticulture and design double major. I have seen the dairy cows, the rice plots, the bees, and the organic farm. The new part for me was seeing the Webb farm since I haven’t taken any classes that are over there. Over on Webb farm are where the beef cattle, sheep, and horses are. It was nice getting to see this side of the farm since I had never seen it before. I had a lot of fun getting to see more of the farm. Thank you Scott Hopkins for giving us a tour of the farm and answering our questions.
Today on the UD farm was cold and windy but also a lot of fun! Scott Hopkins was so knowledgeable as the farm superintendent and very informative. The farm consists of an organic garden, 7 horses, 25 beef cattle, 85 dairy cattle, sheep and horses. Mr. Hopkins thinks that the dairy cattle are the most challenging to care for because the dairy cattle get milked twice a day which requires a lot of labor and the dairy cattle require a lot of different equipment. The farm provides food products to restaurants and to UD students through ice cream, produce stands, and star campus.
It was cool to see parts of the farm that I usually don’t get to see as a plant science major. I always love seeing the dairy cows, though sadly the babies were warded off by all of the rain that we have had. The angus cows did not want us around and mooed very loudly. The sheep were also not happy that we were barging in on the cud chewing. There are so many careers on a research farm such as managers and superintendents and other workers that participate on the farm but also professors and graduate students who are conducting most of the research done on the farm. Overall, I had a great time today and I am sad that this was our last field trip.
During the field trip the farm superintendent of University of Delaware, Scott Hopkins, gave the class a tour of the agricultural field’s mechanical devices, identified the poultry houses and how they are used for research, demonstrated another form of research students focus on for dairy cows regarding a controlled ration being fed, explained the high tunnel and it’s purposes in operating as organic even though it is not verified organic, etc…Additionally when we rode the bus to Webb Farm, the research farm for UD students, Mr. Hopkins took us into the equine building and we briefly discussed how the mares could easily stop giving birth if there was the slightest disturbance during this time such as a student talking while waiting. I personally enjoyed the part of the tour where Scott picked up a handful of the ration being fed to the dairy cattle in controlled research classes because it smelled nice- I believe the ration was a cut up hay forage. Next we moved on to the sheep which I felt was the coolest part of the research farm because I’ve taken classes and learned about equine, poultry, beef and dairy cattle, but learned very little about sheep over my time at UD. During this part of the field trip, Mr. Hopkins talked about the male sheep having a device attached to his body that would spray paint on the back end of the females he would mount in order to check if the population was successfully impregnated. I found this interesting because he would change the color of the paint after a number of days which demonstrated if the first round of sperm was a hit or miss- if the first round impregnated the sheep, it would not have the new paint color demonstrating that the first attempt did not work.
Next we looked at the black Angus beef cattle in which Mr. Hopkins talked about the factors that come into consideration when he decides whether or not to cull a cow. For instance, if a cow decides it no longer wanted to mother a calf, he would remind this cow of it’s protective instinct to protect the cow, as a second chance before considering culling. Also, he briefly mentioned why the bulls were castrated before slaughter and why this was important for a consumer point of view. The reason being that a bull produces testosterone and when the bull is being slaughtered for it’s meat, the stress is shown in the meat because testosterone is produced which causes the color of the meat to turn into a dark blood red color, which is not favorable to consumers when they purchase the final product. I also learned that UDairy Creamery sells the meat that was raised on Webb farm, which is pretty cool because consumers of this generation care about factors such as how their food was raised by the farmer and what went into the process of making their product. Overall, this was a fun field trip and I learned a little more about how the animals are raised than I knew before.