This weekend was the Indiana Farm Bureau District #9 Annual Meeting at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center, henceforth to be known as the meeting at SIPAC. It wasn’t much of a meeting, mostly it was a tour of the SIPAC facilities. I learned a lot, and it was a pretty fun trip. I went up with my husband Matt, and John & Marybeth Feutz. We also met Matt and Carla Schenk there.
Marybeth, Carla and I were supposed to do children’s games. That ended up being a bust, all of the kids went on the tour with their parents. And the hour long tour was really two hours. The tour was good tho, I learned a lot. I doubt I’ll do a great job explaining everything, but I will try.
Our first stop, we learned about Fish, specifically growing them in cages for sale. You can raist 1500 pounds of fish per surface acre.
At SIPAC they currently are growing Talapia. You cannot raise Talapia in this climate in the winter. They will die. They grow bass in the winter.
We also learned about pond turn-over and systems that are available for destratification, or mixing the upper and lower levels of water to circulate oxygen. This means that when the pond does turn over (usually in heavy thunderstorms in the summer) the water that moves up from the bottom will have oxygen and not kill the fish.
Our second stop on the tour was about Goats. We learned some basics about raising goats, including goat diseases.
Raising Dairy Heifers with Goats
The next stop on the tour was the field where they were testing raising dairy heifers with goats. The theory behind this is that raising goats with cattle will increase the amount of livestock you can sustain on a single piece of ground, and that because the goats eat the plants cows don’t eat, you will have better looking, and more balanced pasture land.
They showed us lots of charts to explain how it worked, but I think it was much more impressive when we left the talk to see the difference between the plots with cattle and goats vs. the cattle only plots.
Fly Control on Cattle
After we learned about co-grazing, we went on to the next stop to listen to the entomologist. He was very interesting, but used a lot of big words, and chemical names that I didn’t necessasarily understand. What I did learn is that horn flies suck blood and face flies (these are the ones that look like house flies) live off eye excretions. They can apparently be treated several ways, including pour over liquids, food supplements and ear tags. Ear tags seem to work the best.
With the use of ear tags in the population, they have 100% control of the horn fly population on treated animals and 40% control of the face flies.
The final stop on our tour was land management. This was a discussion of different types of land use and how that use affects drainage of the soil.
The main testing at SIPAC is testing of forested, or wooded areas and pasture land. Wooded areas, are much better for drainage and water to be absorbed into the soil, creating less run-off. Pasture areas do better when animals are rotated often, so that the compacting affect of the animals has time to dissipate between cycles.
When we got back, we finally had time to eat dinner and visit. The food was good and the company was better.
I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some of the things that we learned yesterday, and I might have even gotten some of it wrong, so if I did, please let me know. I want to make sure that I’m not passing out incorrect information.