College of the Ozarks
WCC Faculty Staff Grant
Capturing Farm Data for Classroom Interpretation
Assessment of Grant Objectives
The Work Colleges grant enabled the College’s farming operation to acquire iPads for each agriculture workstation. These iPads have enabled us to use modern technology within our specific fields. As farm managers, we have been able to utilize specific applications that are essential for efficient productivity in today’s high- tech world of agriculture. Through wireless network data, and with the use of the iPad, we are able to access the internet anywhere on the farm. Having this ability has allowed our operations the ability to make timely decisions and also streamline our record keeping capabilities. The College’s farms are an important part of our education system here within the Agriculture Department. Using the iPad, we can easily relay information and data that has been recorded to our agricultural students.
Assessment of Grant Outcomes
While we did attain our desired outcome of increased connectivity of the Ag workstations to the classroom, overall assessment of outcomes for each work station varied. Some workstations made better use of the iPads for the intended purpose than others. This is due in part to the fact that some of the workstation supervisors are not faculty, therefore sharing of information did not occur. Also some of the workstation supervisors do not teach in the area that they supervise. And of course, some of the workstation supervisors are more tech savvy than others. Those challenged by technology did not utilize the iPads for the intended purpose or to their full potential.
Outcome 1. Increase the amount of production data can be collected on workstation farms
Outcome 2. Increased use of farms in classroom activities and laboratories
Outcome 3. Use of data to make informed production decisions.
Data collection and analysis has made it much easier to make management decisions a few examples of these decisions are:
1. Forage variety selection: Decisions as to which forage varieties produce well on different soils and forage varieties that increase dairy cow milk production.
2. Culling - less productive sows and cows.
3. Feeding rations and techniques: that best increase meat production as well as tenderness.
4. Rotational grazing: when to move cattle and which pasture to put them on next.
5. Nutrient Management: where and when to apply manure or lagoon water.
6. Basic record keeping: everything from individual animal production records, field production records, fertilizer and pesticide applications, soil test monitoring and soil quality analysis.
The amount of data that we as farm managers must keep track of as well as share with each other is overwhelming. However the use of the iPads have increased the amount of records we keep and has enabled us to make more informed decisions.
While originally purchasing the iPads was for data collection, another outcome that has occurred is better lecture material as a result of being able to take pictures and videos of activities that take place on the farms during the summer. I have been able to update presentations and can show how a piece of equipment works or visually relay something that happened on the farm in the summer while students were away. I know that other farm managers have used the iPads in this capacity as well.
Participating Faculty and Staff
Bryan Cizek, Adam Kimrey, Eric Bright, Lori Simmons, Ryan Bilyeu, Josh Franks and David Prigel.
Plans for Future Use
Plans are to continue use of the iPads to bring the workstation experience to the classroom and to enhance the lecture experience as new opportunities arise on the various farms. I will continue to encourage other farm managers to make better use of the iPads at their workstations.