Additionally, CRISPR technology differs from the technology used to created genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and it is important to understand the differences.
As quoted from the article: “In the same way that spell-check identifies and corrects single-letter errors in a word or grammar errors in a sentence, gene editing can be used to identify and change the letters that make up the genetic code within an individual,” wrote Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal genomics and biotechnology cooperative extension specialist for the University of California – Davis Department of Animal Science, in an eXtension article published in 2015.
One of the major benefits of this CRISPR technology is creating cattle without horns (polled) which greatly increases safety for other animals and people. Check out the video here:
Where else could CRISPR technology be used?
**Note: no compensation was received for this post. I just believe the information was worth sharing.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. Fair Oaks Farm specializes in transparency and is an agrotourism venue highlighting dairy cows and swine. As a guest to Fair Oaks Farms you can choose to do just one adventure or both – this was the option I chose.
Below is a photo diary of my dairy adventure. ** Please note: I am not paid to endorse or promote Fair Oaks Farms, this is just my opinion and experience.
As soon as I got to Fair Oaks I purchased my tickets for both the dairy and swine adventures. I had a little time to kill before my bus was to depart to go to the dairy facility, which for biosecurity reasons is separate from the main Fair Oaks facility. I spent some time looking around some of the educational displays while I waited…
It was time to load the bus and head to the dairy facility…
When I bought my dairy adventure ticket they told me to keep an eye on the stoplight outside of the dairy barn. If the light was red nothing was happening, if it was yellow feet were out, if it was green there was a delivery in process…
It was time to grab some lunch after the dairy adventure. So I headed to the COWfe!
My dairy adventure at Fair Oaks Farms was great. Even though I was traveling alone on this day there was so much to do and see it kept me fully entertained. I would definitely recommend this stop to anyone – whether you have an ag background (like me) or if you have never been to a dairy before. Stay tuned, I will soon blog about my swine adventure.
I can’t believe it is already the middle of August! Where has the summer gone?! I feel like mine was spent dragging a suitcase through an airport, where I got more sleep on an airplane than I did in my own bed. The good news, I have a ton of posts in my head, I just need to get them down here!
One of my job responsibilities is to provide the Saunders County Livestock Association members with an annual agricultural tour. This was their 56th annual! Pretty amazing that there is that much history and tradition within this county based association. It is also tradition for the Extension Educator who does the tour to take them to their “home” area, for me that is Western Nevada and Northern California.
I had 43 men sign up for the tour (the women stay home and supposedly have their own vacations while the men are away); good thing I am tough and can handle that much testosterone! Since we were flying, I had planned a six day, five night adventure out into the Wild West. We traveled via planes, boats, and buses 🙂 Below are photos from our recent trip. This was only my second tour to plan, but oh what a learning experience these have been!
You would think that since these guys see and deal with agriculture everyday, they would not want to see more of it when on vacation. But that is further from the truth – they love to see what other farmers and ranchers are doing across the county. I hope you enjoy this recap as much as the guys and I enjoyed participating in the 56th annual trip!
This tour was especially important to me, as I took everyone “home” to see the area I was born and raised in. It was very interesting to see things through 43 other sets of eyes. These tours are a lot of work, but they are also a lot of reward to see them come together.
I have heard many of the Livestock Association members reference how great the trips were when the other Educators prior to me took the group “home” – so I had big shoes to fill! I think all of the guys really enjoyed it, and it will be one they talk about for years to come. P.S. – my Mom was already invited to hop on the bus again next year!
If you would like more information about any of our tour stops, tips for planning a large tour, or are interested in participating on a farm/ranch tour – please let me know.
The heat and humidity of summer are arriving in many parts of Nebraska, as well as the rest of the country. Today I will share with you some of things beef farmers and ranchers do to help make their cattle as comfortable as possible during these weather events.
Heat stress is hard on cattle and other livestock (and people!), especially when combined with high humidity and low wind speeds. Heat stress can reduce an animal’s feed intake, weight gain, reproductive efficiency, and milk production, while increasing their susceptibility to diseases (due to increased stress on their overall body system).
Signs of heat stress can include animals bunching, seeking shade, panting, slobbering or excessive salivation, foaming around the mouth, open mouth breathing, and/or lack of coordination and trembling.
If beef farmers and ranchers see such symptoms they will assume the animal is suffering from too much heat and immediately try to minimize the stress to the animal, especially by reducing handling or movement of the animal. Additionally, the previous health of individual animals is an important risk factor, as animals with past health problems will be more affected by heat stress than animals with no prior health problems. These animals will generally be the first to exhibit signs of heat stress and be the most severely affected.
The heat index commonly reported by media outlets is a good place to start in understanding animal heat stress.
If the heat index is above 100 degrees, animals can tolerate it if shade is available and/or wind speed is at least 10 miles per hour. Shade can be provided by trees, buildings or other sunshades. If providing shade is not an option, you may see beef farmers or ranchers move cattle to outside or parameter pens where the airflow is the greatest or to a higher spot where there may be more airflow. If animals are inside a building that is not climate controlled, it is important that airflow through the building is created (opening windows, having fans, open sides,etc). In addition, the temperature can be lowered by spraying cool water on the roof and walls of buildings where the animals are being housed.
If the index gets above 110 degrees, animals will be stressed regardless of wind speed. If possible, market ready animals should have access to shade and airflow. ALL animals should have plenty of access to cool, clean water. Sometimes you may see beef animals standing in water in an attempt to cool down. This can help them stay comfortable, but it can also be risky if they get down in the water and cannot get up. If a heat index above 110 is predicted, livestock that need to be moved or transported should be out of the facilities by early morning but certainly by noon, if possible.
If the heat index is above 115 degrees, market ready animals should not be moved or handled at all!
If the heat index is above 120 degrees, no activity should occur for animals or humans!
During the heat of summer, beef farmers and ranchers may provide: shade (not always an option), ventilation and air flow, plenty of clean and cool water, skin wetting (if possible) with sprinklers and hoses, and cool water drench (if the animal becomes very distressed – a veterinarian may have to assist with this procedure). If used, sunshades would be high enough off the ground (10 feet or more) to allow for adequate air movement.
If animals are wetted down, the droplet size needs to be large enough to wet their skin, not just the hair. A small droplet size will usually just wet the hair creating more humidity for the animal, thus not helping at all.
During these high heat, high humidity events the best time of day to work beef animals is in the very early morning hours when it is still relatively cool. Beef animals will be hot during the day, and will need several hours in the cooler evening temperatures to get their body temperature to a level that is not distressful.
Beef farmers and ranchers do their best to make sure their animals are as comfortable as possible during these high heat, high humidity weather conditions. The best scenario is a nice breeze and cool evenings!
Did you know the average person consumes 612 pounds of dairy products a year?! The USDA indicates that we consume the most fluid milk/cream and cheese! Dairy products are high in calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Something I thought was interesting, the consumption for butter and reduced fat ice cream has increased, while fluid milk consumption has decreased.
Just for fun we pulled all the dairy products out of our fridge for a photo – how many products are in your fridge?
What is your favorite way to consume dairy products?