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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Mid-sem Break Update #2: A Lttile Bit about The Farm in UPM

I planned to write a post about our first 'site visit' for our course, but after thinking for some time, there is not much that I can write about. So this will just be a sharing session about our two-hour trip to one of the farms in my university. University Putra Malaysia, which was previously named University Pertanian Malaysia (University of Agriculture Malaysia) is renowned of its agricultural studies. There are 16 farms in total (wow!) and the one we visited last Thursday is the 10th farm which is located at the opposite of the Serumpun College. The farms are very useful for agricultural and veterinarian students, maybe environmental students will need it too.

For this semester we have taken the subject 'Agriculture and Human' which is a university course. Our lecturer asked us to visit the farm which serves as a site for teaching and learning, agricultural research, consultancy and also food production. We were excited as this was our first class which was not held inside lecture hall or laboratory. However, as soon as the class started, it began to rain heavily. Rain pelted down like bullets (thank God that I didn't hang my clothes outside)! We took shelter under one of the small house (I'm not sure whether I should call it a 'house', maybe I should just call it 'shelter') inside the farm. The class was conducted by an experienced and friendly guide whose name was not known (it's our bad for not asking). He told us a lot of things about the farms in UPM and random knowledge about agriculture (one of the reason I couldn't compile the knowledge together in this post is that things that he taught us were too random, there was no main theme, so I think I will just mention it randomly under the caption of photos) ranged from hydroponics to aquaculture.

Before the rain came...

Our amiable guide who was eager to share his knowledge in agriculture. It was quite surprising that agriculture is not something simple. So do not ever look down on farmers!!!
It's raining! Those are Aromatic Dwarf Coconut (if not mistaken as I google searched the name of the species). Unlike normal coconuts, they have the sweet scent of pandan that makes them popular and expensive. According to the guide, coconut trees in Malaysia are usually mixed breed of local dwarf coconut species with Africa tall coconut species, producing coconut trees which are medium in height.

Aquaculture! This plastic enclosure was bought in 2000 and is working fine until now instead of using the traditional one made of barrels. Tilapias are being reared inside the pond which is quite deep that we should not risk falling into it.

The wheel peddle which induces air into the pond water.

Me and Erika posing above the pond (can you guys stop jumping up and down???).

The most exciting part of our visit, haha. But we can't see the fish in the water.

Red Tilapias! Lucky them that they are allowed to breed naturally, unlike catfish. Eggs will be taken from female catfish after injection while male catfish are killed to get the sperms (our face changed when we heard about this cruel fact). Unlike the ovum of human, the egg has only one entrance for sperm. So fertilisation occurs by chance to see which one is the lucky one, haha.

The cluster of plants in the middle are actually young oil palm trees. On the left there is a patch of land for corn plants while the little house on the right is for swifts, a type of birds which look similar to swallows. For your information, there are 7 species of corns which have different usages such as corn starch, oil, poultry food etc and the one we eat is sweet corn. Sweet corn is usually harvested twice per plant, the second time of harvest will be done when the corns are still small, that's how we get baby corns! Besides, for the swifts, the swift house will be built at the site where swifts are spotted (I know right!). Two eggs will be laid per nest and after the young swifts learnt to fly and left the nest, the nest will be harvested as bird's nest (someone asked the guide that why the swift house was so small as it used to be at least two-storey high, it is because this one is used for research purpose only).

Typical Malaysia's scene after rain. I want to use the caption space here to share a little but about husbandry. Some chicken are reared for meat and some are reared for eggs (I know it's general knowledge, haha, I didn't pay attention at this part so I missed out some information, sorry guys!), same goes to cows. We can differentiate milk cows and meat cows based on the shape of their backside. Milk cows' is slightly triangular while meat cows' is more rectangular. There is actually a cow barn at the farm but due to the rain we couldn't make it there, aww... The breeds of chicken or cows are usually mixed to produce a hybrid species with better yield. But some of the original species are retained as the quality of the original ones is better.

My mind tended to wander around in the middle of the class, I should learn to focus and pay 100% attention though, or else I'm afraid that my blog would be misleading, haha.

This is not green house! Haha. It is actually site for hydroponics such as water culture, drip system, nutrient film technique, aeroponics and so on.
Rambutan orchard! The rambutans are still green in colour, can't wait for them to turn yellow or red!

Pineapple plants at the front and unknown twinning plants at the behind. There are a lot more orchards in our university including durians, mangosteen and the list goes on. There is a paddy reasearch centre at the 10th farm too! 

I think that's all that I have learnt that day. Due to the increasing human population, agriculture has to be improve to meet the needs of everyone. Although we are merely consumers, we can choose to eat more vegetables compared to meat as production of meat will use up a lot of resources including grains and a lot of water. And one more thing, we should value the contribution of farmers in agriculture. Because of them, we have food on our plate. You might think that studying popular courses such as medicine, law, engineering is superior. No matter how important you will be towards the community after you graduate, your contribution will not be as great as farmers.

P/S: Oh by the way, I am reading a book named 'An Economist Gets Lunch' by Tyler Cowen. If you are interested in food (definitely!) and the relation between food and economy, you should try and read it. It's quite interesting especially if you understand the economy states of countries around the world (opps I'm bad at this).

(image taken from google)

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