Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Research, Cattle, and Hogs

This morning we made our way to Foulum. We were a little ahead of schedule so we swung into an older manor that dated back to the 1300's to explore. Following that we spent the morning at the Centre for Research in Food and Agriculture at Aarhus University. This is the largest research facility in Denmark. It is a very large campus and we only saw a small portion of their research facilities. We started off with an introduction to the facilities and then made our way to the fields where they were growing a variety of organic crops in test plots along with different fuel crops. Next we made our way to the Biogas research area. They shared how they are working on combining plant material with slurry for a more efficient energy source. From there we made our way to their mink farm. We discussed quality and tightness of fur along with production practices. To wrap up our morning with the Centre for Research and Agriculture we visited an area that was researching dairy cattle using fistulated cattle.

Following lunch we made our way to a dairy cattle research facility that worked both with farmers and the Centre for Research in Food and Agriculture to combine the research done at the Centre with practical applications to greater assist the farmers. They had many robotic systems including a feeding system that adjusted rations every three weeks for specified groups of cattle. They were working with many innovative ideas. One included separating water from the milk. This can be done on milk that is not being used for drinking milk. They can then reuse the water for drinking water for the cattle.

After our time near Foulum we returned to nearby Aarhus to visit a very progressive hog operation. This farm had 1,450 sows. They farrow and sell the piglets after 4 weeks. They were using practices and procedures that are above the standard of the EU in order to stay ahead of the curve and receive a premium for piglets they sell as they meet UK standards as well. They also have a biogas facility on site for manure handling. We were able to tour all aspects of their hog facility.

It was another great day learning about Danish agriculture. Look forward to our tours tomorrow.

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