A Productive Semester!
Calves were moooving in from left and right this fall semester at UF’s Beckett Center. Let’s see, there was Buckeye, Bertha, Wilbur and an original 36D along with a few other stragglers. Our Beef Management and Production Lab takes a unique approach with students here by giving first-hand experience through the Cow-Calf Project.
The Beef Management and Production class is one of the most exciting classes to take as an upperclassman at Findlay. Everyone looks forward to the lab section and participating in the Cow-Calf Project. This is a capstone project that takes the whole semester to complete.
Within the first week of classes, each student claims a cow that is said to be pregnant. During this time, they monitor nutrition, and record body condition scores and vaccinations given to the mother during her pregnancy.
Next, comes the exciting part — parturition (the birth of a calf)! Students transition to the responsibility of taking care of, not only the calf, but also the mother. During the first week after birth, they both must be checked daily. Slowly, this frequency decreases as the calf grows.
A highlight of my Dairy Production and Management class included a field trip to a large dairy in Alger, Ohio, known not only for its 4,500 cow operation, but also its unique rotary parlor. I have thoroughly enjoyed this class, and the opportunity to compare the herd health plans, protocols and management plans that I learned and practiced this summer at my dairy internship, to the information presented in class.
These kinds of classes are referred to as your production classes. In the fall semester, Beef and Dairy Management and Production are offered, and in the spring semester, students take Sheep and Swine Management and Production. In both Sheep and Swine Production and Management classes, there is a lab section offered for the practical application of the knowledge learned in lecture.
It’s finals week, and time to apply all the concepts the cattle have taught us. With the hands-on focus of these classes, it has definitely been an easier semester than some, but we’ve learned a lot in dealing with the day-to-day challenges of live animals.