Reflection on Blogging

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Over the past four months I have been introduced to blogging. At first I was very hesitant about the whole idea. I felt like I didn’t have anything interesting to write about or I find anything interesting to read and comment on. Little did I know, that blogging is its own world. I have been challenged to research topics to write about and my blog allows me to voice my opinion. Not only have learned a lot about agriculture from reading other blogs but I have learned a lot writing my own blogs. I want educate people about agriculture and spark their interest in my passion. Blogging has allowed me to tell my story and challenged me to research information to give readers facts as well. I hope to be able to continue this blog in the future. I enjoy reading others blogs and keeping update on news in the agricultural world. Blogging has opened doors for me of following new and fascinating people over the past four months. Social media is the new form of networking and getting your name out there. I feel like this a great opportunity for me to keep following new people and learn about new topics within the world, not just related to agricultural. Especially with finishing school soon and looking to start a career, networking with new people and businesses is going to help benefit me for the future. It has opened doors for me and shed light to new trends and issues in the public relations world. Blogging has even challenged me to be creativity and learn new tricks and knowledge about topics. I have also been up to date on current social media news, reviews, and trends. I am really glad I have been introduced to the blogging world and been challenged to try new things and follow new people.

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Missouri Corn Harvest 2013

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With corn being cut for this year, I was curious to see if there was a spike in this year’s corn harvest compared to last years. I was surprised just looking at the average rainfall for Missouri in 2013. Farmers in 2012 took a hard hit from the hot dry weather in Missouri and the lack of rain, many losing the harvest altogether or not yielding enough to make money. This past summer on the other hand in Missouri was about one of the best a farmer could ask for. Starting in the spring when planting began rain starting falling which caused farmers to replant and getting plating done until June; some farmers claimed the late start as one of their best years’. On average in Missouri we received six more inches of rain throughout the spring than normal, although sometimes the rain was not in the critical growing stages still helped. The rain didn’t stop there, throughout the summer it was still hot and normal through June and July, but come August in Missouri received three more inches on average than normal. This allowed farmers to cut in September giving the ground enough time to dry out. That last little bit of rain really boosted the corn for 2013. I never realized how important and how much rain affected the annual yield of crops. With that being said, of course I was curious to see what kind of yield farmers put up this year with the increase of rainfall for 2013. Irrigated fields obviously received a higher yield of 230-250 bushels per acre. According to the USDA report on November 4, eight-two percent of Missouri’s corn crop had been harvested. With harvest still underway in some areas in southwest Missouri due to the late planting, the average estimation looks to be about average or above average depending on the area, but around 150-170 bushels per acre of a non-irrigated field. The late harvest has also allowed more less moisture content in the corn which is less drying time and reduces cost for corn producers. Altogether it looks like 2013 of corn harvest has been a success for farmers.

Dairy Carrie…?

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I recently had to opportunity to set down and have a video Skype with Dairy Carrie from Wisconsin. I had never heard of her or what she did, but it was very fascinating. She grew up in the city and married a Wisconsin dairy farmer and has found herself to be a farmer now. It was interesting to listen to someone who has not come from a farm or agricultural background, to now being a well known blogger in the agricultural world. She not only taught me the importance of voicing your opinion about what you believe in, but taught me that blogging can make a difference. She who started her blog two years ago has 700,000 viewers today! Her main objective is to let her readers know she is average, with just 100 cows on 300 acres; she is an average dairy farmer. She explained that it is important to hit your target audience by telling her story. Viewers want to read a story that they can relate to and something from experience. I never thought of writing to engage comments for readers to read, not necessarily for the people making the comments. Also for blogging, she stated it was important to be part of the conversation but not controlling the element. Along with telling your story, I think it is very cool that Carrie didn’t come from an agricultural background so she knows where other people are coming who don’t understand as much either and can better explain things. She is so real with her stories, whether they are good or bad, it’s ok to be transparent because it’s your story and being real is never wrong. The last bit that I learned from Dairy Carrie is when it comes to writing your blog, write from your heart and be yourself. Becoming a will known blogger has opened up many doors for her, being known of Twitter, Facebook, blog world, AgChat Foundation, and speaks to various groups about the importance of public relations and telling your story.

Smelly Energy

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anaerobic_digestion_diagram
I have recently read up and researched on the agriculture issue of methane generated energy. Along with some regulations that the environmental protection agency (EPA) is trying to enforce, they are trying to tax farmers when the toxins of cattle manure are released into the environment polluting the air. But if farmers can find a way to make use of the manure then they won’t get taxed to have cattle that support our economy. Methane has negative impact on our environment, agriculturist are looking for ways to reuse methane into a positive energy source. This has always been an issue, but just recently being addressed within the economy today. With the environmental protection agency taking charge, the issue is becoming more discussed since they are trying to tax the hard working famers that are supplying are world with beef. Methane can be turned into positives though, such as used to generate electricity or used for heat or fuel for vehicles. The only thing is that the farmers will have to fund the digesters that generate the methane. Ninety percent of the anaerobic digesters currently in place can be found on farms of five hundred cows or more. An average U.S. digester now costs $1.5 million. A small farm is just not going to pay $1.5 million for a digester, they simply can’t afford that. Nearly 95% of United States dairy farms, about 61,650 farms, have less than five hundred cows, so more efforts should be placed on developing digester systems that can benefit these smaller dairies. The price which the farm buys and could potentially sell electricity, should offset the price as factors that impact the profitability of the methane digesters. A farm’s size and access to electrical transmission lines also play a major role. It does work though, for example 165-cow dairy in Minnesota with a methane digester. Their total investment was $460,000. Grant dollars covered seventy-two percent of the cost. With manure input of about seven thousand gallons a day, the system produces 430 kilowatts of electricity daily.

It flies, it dies

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Duck season has recently opened here in Missouri. These duck commanders in Missouri have waited all year for November and no shave no November of course. Missouri is divided into 3 zones, North, Middle, and South zones. Each county is then spilt into the 3 zones. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation to pursue, take, possess and transport waterfowl, doves, snipe, woodcock and rails. You must also have a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit that is required of all residents and nonresidents, including landowners, who are 16 years of age or older. The permit cost dollars and must be renewed every year. A federal duck stamp is required for hunting waterfowl which is stamped onto your permit that is required every year. Most duck hunters typically hunt waterfowl such as mallards and teals. Shooting time is thirty minutes before daylight and the morning time is the best time to hunt them, but you can hunt in the evenings. Depending on location the best area to find waterfowl is near water. These hunters work all year creating marshes, low parts of the land and build dams to hold pockets of water to attract the ducks. Some hunters even in the off season build water gates to control the water amount for their marshes. Before duck season opens hunters will work the marsh up and plant food plots of Japanese Millet, which is a grass seed. When going out to duck hunt don’t forget your decoys, duck calls, a good shotgun, and a good dog. A successful duck hunter always has a good retrieving dog. Most dog being labs that will retrieve ducks once they’ve been shot. Like anything that are certain times for duck hunting as well as limits as shown on the chart.

Game Area Season Dates Daily Limit Possession Limit
Ducks Middle Zone 11/02/2013 – 12/31/2013 6 18

Ducks North Zone 10/26/2013 – 12/24/2013 6 18

Ducks South Zone 11/28/2013 – 01/26/2014 6 18

Joint Injections in Equine

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There are many different opinions regarding the issue of equine joint injections. Some are against it and think its doing more harm than good. Others believe it’s completely safe and effective. I personally am undecided about the issue. I see both good and bad points as to whether people should inject their horse’s joints, coming from someone who has never done joint injections in a horse. If a horse does have problems within the joint and a vet can diagnose the lameness, I think the treatment of the condition is important to be taken care of. It is essential to give the horse better mobility, less pain, and reduce the swelling. As long as the treatment is done in a proper manner and whoever is administering the injection is well qualified for the procedure. Although injecting a horse’s joint can help a horse, it can also harm a horse. Sometimes when performing the injection it may not help the horse as desired. It can potentially cause infection and is something that will have to be repeatedly administrated that can be very costly. Joint injections can be very dangerous; the needle can get stuck in the horse, which can cause more serve damage to the horse. All in all I think that injecting a horse’s joint should be done very cautiously. I think that people should be aware of the outcome of the procedure. Having a well educated vet administrate the injection and do it, only if necessary is the safest way. Some get injections for prevention, but I believe the injections should only be used for critical injured horses and done properly. I also think if there are other ways to help strengthen horse’s joints, such as therapy, that it should be done before giving an injection.

Feedlots

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Feeding beef cattle has slightly declined over the years. Although major of feedlots have fewer than thousand head, those operations market eighteen percent of cattle fed each year. Since cattle feeding is a high-risk business, the scale of economies favor larger operations. This then requires less land for cattle feeding operations than for a cow-calf operation. Successful operations come with the proper planning and preparation. It is also very essential to have a feeding management plan and proper health program for the facility. The facilities themselves should be well managed and taken care of, to keep clean and functioning. It is also important to have some type of shelter, a shed and wind blocks, but most importantly should be designed for the number of cattle being fed. Also it would be sufficient to make use of the manure or to at least have a runoff. When purchasing feeder cattle, the price tends to fluctuate every season of the year. Cattle in better shape usually assigned a higher grade and therefore sell for a higher price per pound. It is always good to stay up-to-date on market conditions when purchasing feeder. The greater the health usually comes with an increase in price, as where thinner cattle require higher medical treatment, lower resale value, and higher death-loss rates. Establishing a health program is very important when running a cattle operation. Purchasing preconditioned calves are a good investment for the cattle feeder. They should all be properly vaccinated, preferably before they are moved to the feedlot. It is also wise to control or reduce parasites, which can be treated with the correct health program established. Another important factor is nutrition. The ration of the fed should depend on the type of cattle and the desired market grade. Increasing forages in the diet of feedlot cattle will in return increase the cost of weight gain when grain prices are low. The fed should provide a balanced diet, and reach desired endpoints for the market.