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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
A dumb question I know from a city boy...are the eggs fertilized by roosters to produce baby chicks before they are formed and layed by the hen, or after? What process makes the eggs we eat non fertile?
Editor's Note: John's response is below and will be featured in the June 20-21 edition of the Farm Report Mailbag...
FIRST OF ALL DAVID, IT'S NOT A DUMB QUESTION. I WASN'T SURE MYSELF. ONCE YOU ANNOUNCE YOU ARE A FARMER, PEOPLE EXPECT INTIMATE UNDERSTANDING OF THE ENTIRE FIELD OF KNOWLEDGE IN AGRICULTURE. WORSE YET, I'M AN ENGINEER, NOT AN ANIMAL SCIENCE MAJOR. WE HAVEN'T HAD CHICKENS SINCE I WAS SMALL BOY. IN FACT, OUR UNUSED CHICKEN HOUSE BECAME THE HEADQUARTERS FOR MY MODEL ROCKET CLUB.
ANYWAY, EGGS ARE FERTILIZED BY THE ROOSTER AND HEN MATING BEFORE THE EGGS BEGIN TO FORM A SHELL OR YOLK. ONE MATING CAN SUFFICE FOR SEVERAL DAYS OF LAYING FERTILE EGGS. HOWEVER, SINCE HENS WILL LAY EGGS WITHOUT MATING, COMMERICAL EGGS ARE MOSTLY NON-FERTILE, WITH NO ROOSTERS INVOLVED.
REGARDLESS, EVEN FERTILIZED EGGS WILL NOT BEGIN TO DEVELOP EMBRYOS UNLESS TEMPERATURES ARE WARM ENOUGH, WHICH IS WHY HENS SIT ON EGGS AND WE USE INCUBATORS IN HATCHERIES. BY KEEPING EGGS COOL, FERTILIZED EGGS ARE ESSENTIALLY INDENTICAL NUTRITIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY TO NON-FERTILIZED. THANKS FOR THE E-MAIL. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT AGRICULTURE - NO MATTER HOW BASIC - WE'D BE GLAD TO HELP.
I always enjoy your shows on the weekends with the comments from the many different people in the grain marketing world. Today's (June 13-14, 2009) emphasis was on the possibility of dwindling corn demand because the livestock people were in such difficult times. My question: is it the current price that is between $4.00 and $5.00 that is the problem or is it the $7.00 corn that they locked last year that is killing them? If it is the $7.00 corn, how are lower prices now going to help them? I, strictly a cash grain farmer, have had to chew through similar issues because I made the same mistake when I borrowed the money and paid for ammonia and DAP at over $1100.00 per ton. It appears to me that some of these large livestock producers have similar management problems as some of the other big conglomerates in our country. We don't seem to have any reserve, because every thing is actually run on some one else's money, i.e. the friendly banker. I know that we need the feed use to use the corn supply, but let us get it correct which pricing situation is the culprit.
Move over corn based ethanol. Imagine replacing 30,000 acres of corn in an already corn defecit area. Time will tell. Let the free market alone to work this one out.
Energy beets: a $93M 'wonder fuel'?
The story is located at http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/11/84228