Our next visit in Kansas was at the Beef Stocker Unit, which is set in the beautiful rolling hills, not far from Manhattan.
|From Lorraine to Manhatten|
My host was Dr Dale Blasi and his offsider and site manager Brendan. We discussed some of the more recent technology the University is exploring, including their yard design and feed rations. Dr Blasi also explained the need for seasonal burning (for weed control) throughout the entire ranch.
|Discussion time - Brendan, Dr Dale Blasi and myself.|
The backyard work, made easy through the use of "Molly Manufacturing's" turret gate and hydraulic crush.
|Beef Stock - Backyards|
This device is inserted inter-vaginal, which then records the heifers temperature every 20 seconds. This helps in exploring the effects of stress and also oestrus cycle identification.
The device is then extracted and simply plugged
into a PC via a USB cable to download its data.
We then travelled into Manhattan and met with Dr Bob Larsen who showed us throughout the animal science and veterinary section of the Kansas State University. Dr Larsen extensively toured us throughout the bovine and equine sections of the veterinary clinic.
|Dr Bob Larsen from the Kansas State University|
A typical examination pen in the cattle area.
A 360° rotating cattle crush. Which is commonly used for hoof maintenance, Caesareans and any procedures that require the beast to be on its back
|Rotating Cattle Crush - front view.|
|Rotating Cattle Crush - side view.|
Clay Centre, Nebraska
Our next visit was at the USDA meat animal research Centre in Clay Centre Nebraska. Where researcher John Hollman drove us around some of the 35,000 acres of the USDA property.
Around World War II 50,000 acres were acquired at a minimal expense from farmers in the area. Bunkers, which were camouflaged from the air, were builts to store artillery, ammunition and explosives. 1300 bunkers were built in total.
|Rows of bunkers which covered thousands of acres.|
A portion was then sold back to farmers after the war and the rest remained US property and has provided the USDA with the research facility. 900 bunkers are still standing today and provide an overkill of storage room.
|An abandoned bunker now used for storage.|
The research Department is home to 6000 cattle and thousands of pigs and sheep excluding a 5000 head feedlot. The department also owns and operates a slaughtering facility. I then sat down to a presentation from Dr Roger Eigenberg and Dr Tami Brown – brand of contributing factors to heat stress on feedlot cattle.
|John Hollman, Dr Roger Eigenberg and Dr Tami Brown |
from the Animal Research Centre
|Bunkers converted to a Piggery|