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Animal Science Field Trip to New Hope View Farms

Animal Science Field Trip to New Hope View Farms 
January 13, 2017 

Mrs. Head took 20 animal science students to her family’s dairy farm to wrap up the topics covered Animal Science. The students went to four different stations where they learned about how many acres of land the farmers work, how cows are milked in the parlor, different feed stuffs and their importance to cow nutrition, and herd health.  
At station 1, Gaelen Head (crop manager/owner) told the students the number of crops they cover in a growing season. He mentioned that they only grow corn and hay and process it in a variety of ways. He had a Claus chopper and John Deere tractor on display that the students were able to look inside and ask questions about how they are operated to put up high quality feed.  
At station 2, Mike Murray (parlor maintenance) took the students on a tour of the space above the parlor. They were able to look at the parlor from a viewing area and see cows being milked. The cows are milked 3 times a day. Students saw the bulk tanks where the milk is cooled and stored before being shipped to a milk plant to be processed into a variety of dairy products. The students learned that there are around 1,000 milking cows on the farm so they need some way to keep track of each of them. Mike talked about the extensive technology they use. Each of the animals has an ear tag with a number and a chip by which they are able to track when she was milked and how much milk she gave per milking. While watching the milking process, Mike also spoke about teat dip, which is a sanitation practice used on dairy farms to keep bacteria counts low in milk. Teats are dipped with a sanitizer before the pumps are attached to get rid of any bacteria that may be on the teat and after to minimize infection of the mammary glands.  
At station 3, Sarah Cough (herdswoman/owner) took the students on a tour of maternity barn. She explained to the students that the animals in this particular barn were ready to calf. One cow was actually getting ready to have a calf and the students were able to see the hooves sneaking out. Sarah explained that in order for a cow to give milk, it must first give birth. Sarah spoke about the different feed stuffs that are fed to cows to get a complete ration and nutritious diet. The students were able to manipulate the different feeds and ask questions about what essential nutrient each of the feed provides in the diet.  
At station 4, Sarah took the students on a tour of the small parlor where all of the treated cows are milked. The small parlor has only a few stalls and the milk is sent to a different tank and pasteurized for the calves to consume. This milk does not go into the bulk tank to be shipped to the milk plant. She explained that when an animal needs antibiotics, they are milked in an entirely different parlor where their milk goes into a different tank. She also explained to students that it is illegal for antibiotics to be in the milk and it is heavily regulated. Sarah also explained the different types of sanitation practices used on the farm and different medications she might give the animals if they become ill. She emphasized that healthy, stress-free animals are their number 1 priority on the farm.  
After the tour, the students went to the main office to learn about the anaerobic digester at the facility. The anaerobic digester has the ability to use manure and collect the methane gas from it to run a generator that provides electricity for the entire facility. Finally, the group enjoyed some cheese curd and chocolate milk donated from local dairy farms Trinity Valley and Hillcrest Dairy. 

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Homer Central School District
Mr. Thomas Turck, Superintendent

80 South West Road
Homer, NY 13077

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