Saturday, July 26, 2014

Naive Blogger

Inexperienced and unsophisticated, that's me.

Today the farm that rents the land next to my home in western New York State is combining wheat. Now, you have to remember my personal experience combining wheat started with a PTO-powered, narrow-cut combine on which I stood at the back to tie off large burlap bags of the grain. These accumulated in a chute that would dump three bags at a time to make picking them up convenient.

This year nearly the entire farm next door was planted to winter wheat that is now ready to harvest. Last evening two huge John Deere combines showed up. They have headers that are so wide that they have to be taken off the combine and pulled sideways on a wagon in order to go down the road. They started harvesting this morning as soon as the dew was off the wheat. The entire wheat crop will be combined before the day is gone. There is a regular parade of 10-wheelers going back and forth to carry the grain away.

Technology certainly has changed. I visited the Cornell University ruminant research center not too long ago. The calves look great. Automatic milk replacer feeders permit scheduling intakes based on the maturity of the calf. I have not see it yet but I'll bet that somewhere there is a unit like this that feeds information to a smart phone app - from anywhere you can check on little Susie-Q to see if she is drinking her allotted milk replacer today. 

I was not forward enough thinking to see these advances back in 1984 or even 1994. The challenge for this naive blogger (and maybe some of the blog readership) is to understand the potential for these emerging technical tools and adapt them to improve the profitability of calf rearing - more live, healthy calves that have grown to their genetic potential that will make milk when they walk into the parlor. 

If you have a favorite "tech" adaptation or idea you could send it to me - smleadley@yahoo.com - and now and then I can pass ideas along in Calves with Sam.

Now, I've got to go watch these big machines - you know what they say about men and their toys. If I ask nicely maybe one of the guys will let me ride along in the cab for a round or two!

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