Friday, May 18, 2012

Georgia Couple Volunteers with FTF Nicaragua

Dr. Jacobsen with Producer at Finca Santa Teresa in Leon
Dr. Karen Jacobsen, a dairy cattle veterinarian/nutritionist and former University of Georgia professor volunteered with the Farmer to Farmer program in Nicargua this past March. Since 1987 her primary focus has been nutrition and her recent Farmer to Farmer assignment focused on dairy cattle nutrition and diet formulation. This was her 7th Farmer to Farmer assignment, previously she has volunteered in Georgia, Malawi and Egypt. This was the first time that her husband, Dr. Michael Mispagel volunteered with Farmer to Farmer. He is an entomologist who worked with the National Agrarian University's (UNA) department of Plant and Forest Protection and department of waste management.
Dr. Jacobsen with Producer Alberto OrdoƱez near Rivas
During Dr. Karen Jacobsen's assignment she visited one dairy farm near Camoapa in the Central Highland region, one near Rivas and 3 near Leon. She also participated in the 7th National Dairy Forum in Camoapa (VII Foro Lechero Nacional) in addition to presenting to 11 dairy technicians from EmprenDes/ Venture Dairy in Leon and meeting with animal science and veterinary students at the Universidad Nacional Agraria.  She felt that putting her on the program of these dairy and cattlemen meetings will surely have a great multiplier effect.

As part of trainings Dr. Jacobsen focused on how to measure the dry matter of the feeds on the farms.  None of the farms she visited had a method of calculating the dry feed and this is important because only 20-40% is dry matter the rest is water. If this is not taken into account in the total mixed ration feeding system, feeding inaccuracies can result in decreased milk yields and/or cow health problems such as ruminal acidosis. In addition to dry matter intake, Dr. Jacobsen focused her attention on mineral supplements. She noted that the minerals cost up twice as much as in the United States and noted that as an area for improvement.
Dr. Mispagel with staff at UNA's museum of entomology
Dr. Michael Mispagel spent a week at the UNA primarily in the department of Plant and Forest Protection. His second week was spent accompanying his wife Dr. Jacobsen on visits to dairy farms looking at pest management issues. While at the UNA, he worked with university counterparts at the school's entomological museum that started in 1980 and where approximately 5000 coleoptera specimens have been cataloged of a total of over 15,000 specimens. The museum is used to teach students about agricultural pests and for general teaching in entomology.

Dr. Mispagel with UNA students
During his time at the university Dr. Mispagel recommended that they start a small separate collection of crop-related adult and immature pests to be used in the crop entomology class. This could be used as demonstration material for this class to assist in pest identification. In addition to pest species, beneficial insects including parasitoids should be part of this collection of crop-associated insects.  Dr. Mispagel  presented a seminar to approximately 30 students entitled "Effects of Global Warming on Agriculture".

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