Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jacob's Breeding Program

For the first time in several years I have been diligently trying to read through the Bible in a year. My excuse for not doing this in so long, well I really have no good excuse. So I bought a new Bible, a one year chronological bible,(NIV). I chose this particular edition for three reasons.

First, I have perused a chronological Bible before and I like the idea of putting the events in an order more consistent with time of the events rather than the writings of one author.
Second, I have never read all the way through the NIV, and (lets not get sidetracked here)reading something other than the KJV which I normally use, might help my understanding of or stimulate further study of passages that I would be very familiar with in the KJV.
Lastly, I have tried several times to read through the Bible with a list of passages stuck in the pages as a bookmark, but each time I ended up losing the bookmark. This Bible has each day listed ie. January 28.

All of this to say, that I was reading in Genesis 30:25-43 where Jacob is feeding Laban's sheep and goats and the arrangement that they made between them to establish Jacobs wages was very fascinating, he clearly understood the role of genetics in the coloring and the health of the herd.
I'm going to explain the events that occurred the way I understand them, I am not speaking with authority, only injecting my understanding of genetics and breeding.

Jacob and Laban reached an agreement that from that day forward, all of the goats and sheep(livestock) born into Jacobs's herd that were not solid white would be Jacob's. Now this would be very difficult after Laban removed all animals with any color from the herd Jacob was tending and sent them off three days journey away. I believe that Jacob knew, and we now know, that some of the animals carry a heterozygous(recessive)gene(color) even while appearing to be homozygous(dominate)solid white.
Now the first couple of years must have been very slow and frustrating while a small number of colored animals were born. But after a couple of years when Jacob got some colored males in the herd he began to breed all of the best animals with males that were dominate colored. This sharply increased
the number of colored animals in the herd. Add to this the use of some kind of aphrodisiac in the watering troughs, which induced the females into "heat" allowing the selective breeding of the best, strongest, healthiest animals. I think the rods contained some substance that increased the estrus in the herd.
Today we have similar substances that come in a bottle, are injected into the animal and are very effective in starting the estrus. In cattle herds and swine herds, it is common to inject a certain number of animals that the operation intends to breed for a given period of time, in that way inducing the estrus at a time convenient for the operator. Much better to inject a cow on Friday afternoon so that four days later, Tuesday morning, the cow is ready for breeding, than to let it occur the natural way and wind up with cows to breed on Sunday morning. All of this is exactly what I understand Jacob to have been doing with the peeled rods in the drinking troughs.
The end results were that after six years Jacob had a herd of colored animals, with very few if any of the white animals left. By the 4th or 5th year every animal born in the herd was showing some sign of color, because the selective breeding on Jacob's part meant that every animal carried the colored genetics. Even the white female animals were throwing colored offspring because of the colored males used as sires and the fact that the females carried a recessive trait for color.

In the post with the pig pictures below I talked about the effect that breeding for lean in the hog herd had on the hog feeding business. As the animals got leaner, they had less and less ability to tolerate the cold temperatures in the midwest. To gain efficiency in feeding hogs, ie feeding for growth rather than just to keep the pig warm, it was necessary to put the pig in a closed environment. A warm comfortable happy pig will grow much faster than a cold, uncomfortable unhappy pig. So the direct effect of selective breeding resulted in a change in the makeup of the animal. Just like adding color to Jacob's flock.
Earlier this week I received a newsletter from a relative in the cattle breeding business. Let me quote a short excerpt form an article in that newsletter. "Robert Bakewell, an eighteenth-century Englishman, is referred to as the "father of livestock breeding". He did not know about DNA or genes but observed that mating superior animals produced superior progeny more than other matings. He translated his observation that "like begets like" into a breeding strategy for animal improvement." "For decades, one of the tools producers have had available is expected progeny differences or EPD's. Bakewell sorted through his records and pedigrees, to select for the most favorable traits." We still do the same today with high speed computers and massive data sets. There is a National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC), which advises the beef industry with the EPD's needed for selection. But times are changing, EPD's rely on pedigree and performance data to provide their information. We use EPD's to predict the genetic merit of an animal, without knowing the individual genes that determine a given trait in the animal, good or bad. Now with modern genetic and DNA testing it is possible to isolate the differences in expression of a trait, use color as an example, one DNA test is for red/black color. (Black is usually considered desirable, ie higher price at sale. ) The test allows us to identify which animals have two copies of the black allele (homozygous) and which have one black and one red allele (heterozygous). Before this test one could only suspect an animal of being a "red carrier", using previous EPD's. This search for traits related to color used to be done with EPD's, which lead to more testing, by breeding that animal to a know homozygous black animal to see if he sired red offspring. Now with DNA testing we can know for certain the animal color, parentage(if you pay big money for a animal that came from some high dollar sire, its nice to know that the parentage is what you paid for), even and maybe most important, there is a DNA test for the trait that relates to the tenderness of the animals meat. That alone will radically change almost all cattle breeding, because the number one concern of the consumer in meat tenderness.

Well, enough about EPD's and DNA, meat tenderness etc. Isn't it amazing that Jacob's breeding program is so similar to what we do today in the livestock business.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Modern Hog Feeding

Nothing causes more uproar in rural Iowa these days than when some people hear that a new hog building is being built in their area. This is not a defense nor a promotion of a particular position in that argument. Rather it is simply a few pictures of what the buildings are like and a few sentences to explain the pictures.

Its 10 degrees today, 9 to 10 inches of snow on the ground.

Inside the automatic controllers are maintaining the set temperature of 77.5 degrees. The controller switches on the heaters or increases the speed of the ventilation fans seen in the first picture, that draw air from under the slats seen in the third picture.

With the slat floor under the hogs, the manure and urine fall into the pit under the building. It is stored there until it is pumped out and injected into the ground as fertilizer in the fall.

This next picture is of the hog feeders and the waterer in the center of the pen.

Here is a picture of the whole room, or half the building.

As more and more consumers asked for lean pork, the producers bred hogs with little fat on them.
In cold weather the fat is a hogs insulation against the cold. Hogs like these can not handle the cold weather. With this many hogs in the room, it only takes a few weeks until they no longer need an auxiliary heat source, the body heat of that many hogs keeps the temperture constant.

In the summer, a curtain which you can see in the first picture, which also lets light through in the day time, is lowered by the controller to allow the natural air outside to flow through the building. In the spring and fall the controller will run more fans or open and close the curtain depending on the outside tempture.

In the first picture, at the far end of the building is a bulk tank which holds the feed that is augered into the feeders for the hogs to eat. Each tank holds about 8 ton of feed. A truck brings the feed to fill the tanks, whenever the tank goes empty.

Hope you find these pictures and the descriptions informative.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The perfect sentence in this story.

Anderson was hospitalized with a broken nose, collapsed lungs and a damaged liver, and he didn't wake up for six days,

My brother and I had all of our tools stolen one time. I dreamed for weeks about doing this to the theives. Forget prison time and fines paid to the government(like the jerk stole anything from them anyway). Give the victim a chance to inflict some personal justice on the perp.

Here is the rest of the story.
Seems like a little personal justice might just turn the light on in this morons head.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Cold Winter Night

It's one below outside, my daughters are reading by the fireplace, and I'm blogging.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Triune God

The Triune God

Ok, I promised to blow this foolish denial of the trinity out of the water once and for all.

As a believer in Sola Scriptura, no quotes from any other author, simply the words of Scripture.
I will not attempt to make the case in the Old Testament, it's there but I don't feel like typing that much. We will start at the announcement of the coming Birth of Jesus Christ, and go
from that point in God's revelation to mankind. All mentions in quotes are added by me for clarity of thought. I'm sorry this did not transfer well from OO 2.0

Matt.1:20-23, Lk. 1:35, The Holy Spirit (God the Spirit)shall come upon theeand the power of the Highest (God the Father)shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy one which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (God the Son).

At the Lord's baptism, in the Jordan river, Matt. 3:16-17
16And Jesus,(God the Son) when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God (God the Spirit) descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven(God the Father), saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matt 4: 1Then was Jesus(God the Son) led up of the Spirit (God the Spirit) into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God(God the Father).

To those unfamiliar with scripture, You must know this passage, Exodus 3:13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Jesus speaking about himself, claimed God's name for himself, John 4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (I AM He)
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he(I AM He), ye shall die in your sins.
John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he(I AM He), and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.(I
Jesus claimed equality with the Father. John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
If you think that this verse is not significant, see what the Jews reaction to hearing this statement was.
31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 39Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
vs. 31 they wante to stone him, vs. 33 they called him a blasphemer for “making himself God” vs. 36 Jesus even acknowleges calling himself the Son of God vs. 38 “ the Father is in me and I in him vs.39 they again tried to capture him They believed that He claimed to be God!!!

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we (The Father and the Son) will come unto him, and make our abode with him. more comment on this one later.

What did Jesus say about the Holy Spirit? I'm glad you asked.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter (Holy Spirit) is come, whom I ( God the Son)will send unto you from the Father(God the Father), even the Spirit (Holy Spirit) of truth, which proceedeth from the Father (God the Father), he shall testify of me(God the Son):
John 14:16 And I (God the Son) will pray the Father(God the Father), and he shall give you another Comforter(God the Spirit), that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14:17-20 Even the Spirit of truth (God the Spirit); whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he (God the Spirit) dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I (God the Son) will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I (God the Son)am in my Father(God the Father ), and ye in me, and I in you.
vs.26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father (God the Father) will send in my (God the Son)name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I (God the Son) have said unto you.

And when our Lord gave his final commission to his disciples, he said,
Matt.28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
I have just mentioned some of the passages in the Gospels, anybody want to claim that Scripture does not teach a Triune God??

I will gladly post numerous passages from the rest of the New Testament later.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The bedding is corn stalks, rolled up in bales and
scattered out for the steers to lay on. "Beef, It's whats for dinner"

Spreading Natural Fertilizer (bovine variety)

2. The business end. I suggest you stand back. There are about 750 bushels of "stuff" piled on this load.

  1. This is barn bedding with the s**t mixed in, spread on soybean stubble. The next frame is how it looks after it is spread on the field.

4. This is the results after one pass with the spreader.

Friday, January 5, 2007

A Shocking Thing Happened To Me

For those with any sense of history, Saturday December 30, 2006 should be a date that shares a place in our memories similar to those triggered by mentions of December 7th, 1941, November 22, 1963 or September 11th, 2001. Now I am making no attempt here to equate the importance of these dates, only that for those with a knowledge of history, mentioning Sat. Dec. 30, 2006 will immediately bring to mind the image of Saddam Hussein swinging on the end of a rope.

Since I believe the Bible clearly teaches that the death penalty was instituted by God at the end of the Flood, in Genesis 9, I was not going to spend a great deal of time mourning the death of a truly evil and murderous man. In fact it probably could and should be mentioned that God told the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 32:40 to 43 to Rejoice in God's vengeance on the evil. God demands justice, he requires that those who shed human blood should have their blood shed by their fellow man. It is the responsibility of the Lawful to carry out God's justice on the lawless. I was glad to see Saddam Hussein get the punishment he clearly deserved.

All of that to get to this point. As I watched the scratchy video of Saddam being hanged, something happened to me that I was completely surprised by, I (farmer Tom), a strong and unflinching proponent of the Death Penalty (pause) felt sympathy for the Butcher of Baghdad, a mass murder, a wicked and perverse man. I was amazed. I was dumbfounded, I was speechless (ok, you probably won't believe that). Anyway, I was shaken to the core, how could I, a consistent and outspoken supporter of the government's responsibility to (Romans 13) "bear the sword", be feeling pangs of conscience for such an indisputably loathsome vile man.

I've thought about that reaction for several days. I have come to several conclusions about what I felt.
First, I was reminded again about the amazing power of the visual. To write about, to speak about, to read about, even to argue in favor of something can not touch the emotions like a few seconds of video. Somehow it is more real when we see it with our own eyes. My brain will have that image stamped in it's memory files until the day I die. Words, written and spoken fade into the vapors of time, but the visual image stays forever. That is both good and bad. Good in the terms of making something much more real to the viewer. I know that Saddam Hussein, a worthless piece of human debris is dead, because, (this is graphic) I saw the bastards neck snap. He's dead, no question about it. Its bad because, its much more real to the viewer. I know that Saddam Hussein, a worthless piece of human debris is dead.

So much of what we see on TV or in movies is faked, it's cleaned up, so that death, blood and mayhem are clean, quick and emotionless. But real death is not that way. A fellow human being died on Dec, 30th and I was reminded that death is not a pretty thing. I believe that Saddam will spend eternity in Hell. If I cared so little about my fellow man that I was unaffected seeing him go to eternal punishment, I could not claim to care about the souls of my fellow man. It did bother me and for that I am thankful, I am still capable of feeling concern for the lost and their sinful condition.

On the other hand, I also came to the conclusion that while I felt a discomfort at the death of this man, it also reinforced my belief that justice was served. Think of all the families, lives and homes that this murderous thug destroyed. To see him hanging by the neck, swinging on the end of a rope, should be a reminder that the "wages of sin is death". A man who deprived countless people of life, twisting on the end of a noose, earning the wages of the work he had done.

I have gotten over my feelings of discomfort, I'm looking at the death of Saddam Hussein from the proper perspective again, God demands justice be done, and it was. I am once again looking at this from God's viewpoint. I can not allow my emotions to cloud the fact that God wants man to take human life very seriously. That God wants those who disreguard his Law and murder mankind, (man created in His image) to pay with their own life. But I have been reminded also that all men are sinners, that all of us face a judgement day, and that save "the Blood of Jesus Christ, his son,which cleanseth us from all our sin" I would deserve the same fate as Saddam. Maybe not on the end of a rope, but eternal separation from God, a fate far to serious to take lightly.