The old saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Kentucky, just wait a day or two and it will change” certainly held true this year. We had a long, hot end to summer that bled over into our fall season. Then when things changed, it did so in a drastic way. We had a day in early October that was 93 degrees. Then just 40 days later, the low reached 7 degrees and there was an inch of snow on the ground. There is no denying that weather extremes are becoming a more common challenge to all of us in agriculture.
One of the ways that we try to manage those weather extremes is with adequate infrastructure. We continue to move forward with the renovation work on the bull barn. Upon completion of the renovation we are going to test the new designs with our calves, which will be taking part in a research study conducted by Quinn Cole, a Murray State Veterinary Science Student. The study will compare the efficiency of a self feeder vs bucket feeding calves to achieve the same average daily gain. During the study, the calves will be contained in the barn for 90 days, thus giving us the ability to study and compare the four different flooring treatments at the end.
Other infrastructure that we recently added to combat the extreme elements was a power station at one of our tire water tanks. This power station has both solar panels and a wind mill (which can generate electricity in wind speeds as low as 7 mph) which charge two batteries. Those batteries will power different versions of 12 volt water pumps and bubblers to determine which designs are the most effective at deterring the buildup of ice in the water tanks.
As the weather gets cooler we see less folks come to the farm for tours. However we did still have two different groups tour Eden Shale in November. We hosted a group of producers from Rowan/Elliott County and we hosted the Division of Water Enforcement Staff. We showed the latter group the kinds of violations they may encounter on a producers farm and then offered some of the practices that they might want to recommend as solutions. It was a good day with lots of good discussion, and I appreciate them taking the time to come to the farm.