How aerial Drones are used in agriculture and Ultrasounding beef Cattle were two of several mini sessions the southwest area ag students and FFA member attended at the NDSU ranch experiment station located south of manning on September 15th, 2014.
By Larry Lundberg
Killdeer HS ag instructor
The Day long workshop included six mini sessions presented by several speakers. The Mini session on Drones was one of the highlights of the day. John Nowatzki, Agricultural Machine specialist from North Dakota State University. Discussed how drones are being used in agriculture, especially crop production. He also discussed some of the legal and privacy aspects of using these drones. Nowatzki showed two drones that are commonly used in agriculture and gave advantages and disadvantages of both types.
Also part of the morning presentations was a demonstration on Forage quality and digestibility given by Dr. Chip Poland from Dickinson State University.
Also from Dickinson State University, Dr. Josh Steffan gave a presentation on Soils. The presentation helped students understand what Soil is and how cover crops can improve the health of soil.
After the noon lunch break , which was provided by the NDSU Dickinson research and Extention Center, the students moved into the afternoon session on Ultrasounding Beef Cattle. The presenter for this Topic was Songul Senturlu, visiting research scholar from Turkey.
Doug Landblom also assisted in helping with the ultrasound demonstration. Beef cows were brought into a working chute and were ultrasounded for Ribeye muscle area and Marbling. Several students were given the opportunity to use the ultrasound probe and were shown how to interpret the images on the screen.
Students also watched a demonstration of a rain fall simulator. This demonstration was facilitated by the staff members of the Baker , Montana Natural Resources conservation service. This demonstration involved soil samples that were a 12 inch by 24 section of sod or soil from pasture and farmland that had different cropping practices done to them. These sections were placed in pans and a special nozzle simulated a moderate to heavy rainfall. The simulator measured how much of the rainfall ran off the surface and how much ran through the bottom. The simulator clearly demonstrated how optimal cropping and grazing practices can help farmers and ranchers harvest more rainfall.
The Final session of the day was presented by Dr. Kevin Sedivec, NDSU rangeland extension specialist. He discussed how to identify several range plants and their importance on the range.