Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 11 - Wednesday, October 5

The word of the day is 'knicks', but not like the basketball team; spelled the same but pronounced kuh-nicks, these are raised areas like a terrace between fields that is a feature unique to Schleswig-Holstein.  The hedge rows were started by the Danish king to separate land.  The 45,000 kilometers of knick must be maintained by clearing every 10 years, this is often used for firewood. You can only find these features north of Hamburg.
Our first stop of the day was to visit the farm of Dr. Jan Bielfeldt, a Limousin breeder who started in 1987.  Jan was not there, but we met with his uncles, who help him care for the cattle.  They raise about 43 headof cows and heifers, including 26 mother cows and three bulls.  A bull they are very proud of is Effeil, a polled bull purchased from France.  They have imported embryos from Canada and sell cattle throughout Germany, export to Switzerland, France, Poland and Denmark. Their primary market is other Limousin breeders,but they sell some to commercial herds.  The Bielfeldts show cattle across Germany and sell either though te exhibitions or directly off the farm; the recently held their production sale.  They have raised and owned many champions and will be going to a another show soon. The herd priority is to produce consistent, heavily muscled cattle, that are polled, with good dispositions.  It is also becoming important for them to find outcross genetics and make international contacts.
Finally we did some agricultural sightseeing, taking a boat ride out to an island tour off the coast in the North Sea.  There we saw terpen, that are island hills that homes and barns are built upon to protect from the sea during a storm.  The terpens are man made hills of sand and shells.  The island we visited was 550 hectares, on this we saw farmers raising cattle, sheep and horses as well as a group who give historical tours for tourists.  On this island live 110 people, there are 700 rooms for visitors including 350 hotel rooms, hostel and a camp site.  The farmers dig canals to help drain the water from the island.
On our way back to the mainland we passed a shrimp boat that was harvesting North Sea shrimp, a small (up to 2 inches) delicacy.  The shippers cook their catch on the boat, then truck it to north Africa where women pick off the shells by hand, then reimported to Europe.
After our evening dinner, we had a small window of time to get some laundry done at the 24 hour wash center, hitting the hay about 12:30.

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