HSLP 2017, Session B: Day 5

Reported by Chase Smith (Freeman High School)

Today we spent the first half of our day in McGaheysville at Cub Run Dairy, a major dairy farm in Virginia. With a guided tour from Mr. Gerald Heatwole, the owner of the farm, we learned about the production of milk for Krogers' shelves all across the Commonwealth.

To start, we witnessed a veterinarian do an ultrasound on a cow that was pregnant with twins! The fetal cows were no bigger than two centimeters each, but had beating hearts!

[[{"fid":"366","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"right","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"right","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"style":"margin: 7px 12px;","class":"media-element file-default media-wysiwyg-align-right","data-delta":"1"}}]]My classmates and I had great questions: How many gallons of milk are supplied a day? What measures has the farm taken to help the environment? What role do environmental regulations play in farming? Mr. Heatwole gave amazing answers to all the questions asked, with emphasis on reducing erosion of sediment into the Chesapeake Bay by fencing in the creeks and streams. Another main concern was efficient milk production. After all, business is about maximizing profit and minimizing production costs, right? In discussing efficiency, Mr. Heatwole explained that “cow comfort” was the largest factor in garnering the most milk. If a cow is comfortable and stable, then that cow will go on to give the most milk possible. With the use of rubber mats, efficient technology, and huge ceiling fans, Cub Run Dairy reaches the optimal efficiency.

It was amazing to see the very start of the chain for production of milk that I and many others purchase every week at Krogers across Virginia. Next time I buy milk, I will remember the incredible process.


Reported by Liana Keesing (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)

Today was the 5th day of the HSLP, as well as our first field trip day. After staying up too late celebrating Landon’s birthday the night before, we were somewhat exhausted, but we woke up quickly and were ready to learn by the time we headed off to the Shenandoah Valley.

Our first stop was at the Cub Run Dairy farm outside of Harrisonburg, where we had a chance to meet Gerald and Anita Heatwole, who have run the farm for decades. We started the tour with the farm’s veterinarian, who showed us how he gives ultrasounds to pregnant cows, and then headed over to the newly renovated barn where Gerald described the various ways the farm had incorporated technology to improve efficiency in its daily operations. From there, we moved to go pet baby calves, looked at “springers” (female cows ready to birth), and finished looking at grain that would eventually be used to make beers like Coors and Miller Lite.

Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017