Tia’an to Beijing #15

I am on the train again. We spent the morning on the same farm again. Before we left I noticed these guys in the hotel lobby:

R2D2?

Clearly they are robots. They are about 5 1/2 feet tall – so we see eye to eye – or eye to LED. Try wrestling your bag away the iron grip of on of these guys. I have no idea what they do, but I would sure love to see them in action. As I said, this is a high tech hotel.

We went back to the same farm to do some training and Q & A. They were a great group, interested, smart, challenging, and driven. Perfect students; felt like I was teaching at MIT. This dairy would be a top dairy anywhere in the world. We talked about genomics. They are testing calves and using in vitro fertilization to increase the speed of genetic progress. The best dairy in their group is in Chinese Mongolia. The cows their average 45 kg of milk per cow per day (99 lbs). Their somatic cell count is 70,000. The Mongolian farm is a little ahead of this one in regard to using genomics. (For non-dairy folks, genomics refers to taking a blood or tissue sample from a baby calf to examine its genome for specific characteristics, such as milk production, longevity, some health traits, disposition, fertility, and much, much more. Remarkable technology. ) I was sorry to leave but we have places to be, so off to the train station for a trip to Beijing and then a switch to a different train, and then to another farm somewhere. We are spending the night on the dairy, which will be new for me. Here are some pictures of the country and some villages on the way to the dairy.

shop
village
village
village
village

The villages are quite a contrast to electric toilet and robotic bell boys, don’t you think? This is China, where the past and the future coexist. As we travel around I see many of the fields are green, some are brown and just being planted, but they are all neatly laid out and so tidy. Whether it is rows of fig trees, or small parcels of wheat, or rows of vegetables, it is like a giant patchwork that someone laid out from above. It is truly remarkable. China’s agriculture is also a place where the past and future meet. What I have seen on the dairies is a desire for learning and advancement. I think many were built by copying something in the US without actually figuring out just what everything was for and just how everything was supposed to be done. They just spent a ton of money and built it. That’s why sometimes I am amazed that someone with 5000 cows or more does not understand the reasons for some really important factors that my dairy people at home just know, and don’t even think about. On the other hand, there are farms like this one that are on the high speed train like the industry around the rest of the developed world, and they are rapidly working their way up to first class.

Speaking of trains, I saw this in the train station bathroom.

toilet paper dispenser

Yes, you need Wechat on your phone to get toilet paper. No kidding. No phone, no Wechat, no TP, SOL, no pun intended. Welcome to China. I didn’t mind though even though I don’t have that app. You see, this toilet paper dispenser was by the sink….and I have cotton pants.

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