Tweeting Bovines

24 02 2010

Recently I found another way to waste time and hopped on the Twitter band wagon. It isn’t all a waste though. It’s a great way to get quick notifications of events, like results from the olympics, breaking news story’s, or cancelled classes!!
I found a Tweet update from an agricultural blogger about a farmer that is using Twitter to broadcast his cows thoughts and actions. Really, I didn’t believe it either but this is really cool.  The farmer who uses robotic milkers has a computer update each cows activity onto Twitter so the farmer and the rest of the world can see what they are up too.
Take a look and see, any maybe soon you’ll be Twittering about your pets!


iSpray on your iPhone

9 02 2010

Dupont Crop Protection announced today the release of their new “Tank Mix” app for the iPhone and iTouch.  This nifty tool is sure to help spray applicators quickly figure out the correct amounts of product and water amounts.  Although the app itself does not contain specific product information, it does have a link that connects to the Dupont CP website that guides users right to the manufacturers suggested usage rates.

Nice!! This application should save sprayer operators a lot stress and sleepless nights, as long as they don’t drop their phone in the tank!  When the push is on this spring and summer for spray operators, look for a group of sprayer drivers looking a little more relaxed.

The new application can be purchased at the the Apple App Store.

Check out the Dupont Press release at:

Hindsight 20/40

6 02 2010

Here a bit of news I found to be pretty interesting for livestock farmers considering its recent history. Today the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would be scrapping its National Animal Identification Program.  Introduced in 2004 following the discovery of Mad Cow disease in North America, the voluntary system faced harsh criticism from many farmers and ranchers because of the extra inconvenience it would impose on their operations.  After consulting with many industry partners including processors, packers and farmers of all sizes in all states, the USDA decided that a new strategy towards animal disease traceability was needed.

The USDA hopes to create a new program that will:

  • Only apply to animals moved in interstate commerce;
  • Be administered by the States and Tribal Nations to provide more flexibility;
  • Encourage the use of lower-cost technology; and
  • Be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process.

Considering the need for a simple and clearly transparent identification system, I find it very interesting to grasp how abandoning a nationally run program for 52 state run systems can be more accountable.  It will be interesting to watch as the impact from this unfolds over the next few weeks.  Still, I feel my best way of checking for the safest food is by checking the country of origin labelling to see that is reads “Product of Canada”.

To read the full announcement, check out the USDA website at as well as the New York Times

RoGator Roll’s Out Key New Twist

3 02 2010

Enough of this heavy stuff, here’s something pretty cool.  Agco released the prototype to its new electrically driven high clearance sprayer at the recent AgConnect Farm Show in Orlando, Florida.

The Electrogator replaces the common hydraulic motors used to power each wheel with electric motors, increasing efficient in fuel consumption and optimizing variable control between all four wheels.  The model is based on technology from trains where the sprayers current 310 horsepower diesel engine is directly connected to a large 3 phase generator producing 650 volts to each wheel motor.

The Agco Electrogator optimizes fuel consumption and horsepower

Early development has shown a decrease of twenty percent in daily fuel consumption between conventional hydraulic engines and turns out as much as 35% more torque, which is enough to get any operator excited.  Although commercial production is still a few years off, it’s awesome to see these new machines in actual form.  As development into this type of technology expands, many at Agco see it expanding into other equipment such as tractors and combines.

Take a look at the Western Producers take on this cool new toy:

I’ll Drink to That

3 02 2010

Growing up I was taught that every story has two sides.  I’m beginning to see that this does not always hold true.  Recently I posted about the Justice of the Peace ruling on Michael Schmidt’s raw milk case.  Not wanting to get to far ahead of the ruling, I have decided to hold off commenting my opinion until after the Ontario Government decides if the want to appeal.

However, other people did not.  I returned home this weekend to read an interesting perspective on the raw milk issue.  An editorial by a freelance writer out of Toronto was featured expressing her distrust for dairy farms and how unsanitary they were.  Although I am against the deregulation of raw milk sales in Ontario, there is no way that I can say that I am on the same side as this writer.

I am writing a rebuttal to her letter to correct the misleading information in her story and adding another perspective to the public’s understanding of this issue.  This may understandably confuse many readers as to who or what to believe.  But if I don’t write, what chance would an uninformed consumer have of hearing the actual facts?

As ambassadors for agriculture, it is the responsibility of all of us to promote the truth about our industry to consumers.  Too often they hear the misleading facts from others that are not true, but how can we expect consumers to support the farmer if they don’t understand where they don’t hear from them.

This weekend taught me how there are at least two sides to every story, but usually their are more.  When it comes to agriculture we should all strive to ensure that the agriculture side is heard.