Chickens ‘Talk.’

first_imgSummertime living has never been easy for chickens in Georgia. Heat stress takes aheavy toll every year. But a few “talking” chickens in a University of Georgialab may soon change that.Modern poultry houses’ vastly improved cooling methods have already helped make Georgiafarmers the nation’s No. 1 poultry producers. But the houses’ climate controls can stillbe greatly improved.That’s where Takoi Hamrita’s sophisticated chickens come in.Let the Chickens Talk”The chickens are the most important things in the house,” said Hamrita, anassistant professor of biological andagricultural engineering with the UGA College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences. “We’re using the approach of letting the birds tell us whether they’recomfortable.”With the chickens, in effect, helping control their climate themselves, they can becomfortable all the time. That may not seem important. But the benefits are clear. With analways-ideal climate, chickens will: Photo: Carol Williamson Photo: Carol Williamson Be better able to ward off disease pathogens they might otherwise carry in their bodies to your table. Survive better, saving farmers the expense and trouble of disposing of birds otherwise killed by heat stress — while keeping the environment safer. Grow with peak efficiency, improving the growers’ profits. She starts with quarter-inch-thick sensors the diameter of a nickel. Painlessly implanted (with an anesthetic) under the breast bone of three-week-old chickens, the sensors transmit data to a central computer.”At the moment, the sensors tell us only the birds’ deep-body temperature,”Hamrita said. “Eventually, though, they will also tell us their respiration and heartrate.”With the physiological feedback, the computer takes over the controls in a way thefarmer never could. “It determines, using artificial intelligence, how the bird isfeeling,” she said. “And it decides what the computer’s next move shouldbe.”A Complex SystemThe system is complex. It has to be. “The bird is dynamic. It’s growing every day,so its response to its environment changes every day,” Hamrita said. “Theenvironment is constantly changing, too. We can no longer rely on standard mathematicmodels to handle all these variables.” Takoi Hamrita shows her students part of the hardware that makes the interface between the producer and her complex climate-control system.center_img Sensors and Artificial IntelligenceTo get her chickens to “talk,” Hamrita uses an ingenious combination ofsensors and artificial intelligence . Photo: Takoi Hamrita Takoi Hamrita teaches some of the principles involved in her futuristic climate-control system to her University of Georgia students. The computer’s neural networks, though, can handle them. With digital simulations of human neurons, the computer is trained to “think.” It can recognize changes and patterns and adjust to the ever-changing feedback from the sensors.”The neural networks are capable of learning,” Hamrita said. “They can juggle the different variables in the bird, the weather, economic factors — all of the things that go into making the best climate-control decisions.”Full-scale Study NearSo far, Hamrita’s studies have involved only about 30 chickens and a dozen sensor-implanted chickens in her research chamber. The system is about five years from commercial use.”The next move is to borrow a producer’s house for a full-scale study,” she said. “We’re almost ready to do that.”A full house of around 65,000 chickens would need about 100 sensors. “The sensors would be the biggest investment — $5,000 to $10,000 for 100,” she said. “The system itself would be about $2,000.”The sensors would be reusable. And the growers themselves would be able to implant them.Chickens Genetically DifferentHamrita said the futuristic system would pay off for growers because it has become so important to keep chickens comfortable.”The chickens we have now are genetically different from the ‘yard birds’ of the past,” she said. “Those birds could fend for themselves, but they weren’t very meaty.”Over the years, chickens have been bred to grow more efficiently. Compared to a half-century ago, they now gain 50 percent more weight on half the feed in half the time.”We’ve altered them for growth, but they’re no longer hardy,” Hamrita said. “We demand a lot more of them, so we have to give them more.”last_img read more

Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Fayetteville, West Virginia

first_imgYou may remember Fayetteville from November of 2013 when this small river town of nearly 3,000 people took top honors in our Best River Towns Contest. In that contest we acknowledged Fayetteville for its world-renowned whitewater, and paid homage to its status as a year-round river rat retreat.Thanks to its proximity to both the New River Gorge and the Gauley River, Fayetteville is one of the most sought after whitewater destinations in the country, but it’s also home to climbers, hikers, trail runners, anglers, and mountain bikers. If any of your passions fall into these categories, go ahead and put this town in your ‘must-visit’ column.Cudas_IB_0814_2Did you know? In addition to being a virtual whitewater mecca, the New River Gorge attracts rock climbers from all over the globe. One look at the Endless Wall, which offers 4.5 miles of unbroken cliff line accessible only by repelling or ladders, and you’ll understand why.Vote now at!last_img read more

Implications of the loan-to-share ratio for the credit union industry

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The loan-to-share ratio can be deceiving. It’s calculated by dividing the total amount of outstanding loans by the total amount of share deposits. While this ratio serves as a good indication of a credit unions liquidity, it also shows the level of risk a credit union is willing to take on. Generally speaking, credit unions with a high loan to share ratio are taking on more risk to increase their profits. At the end of Q2 this year, the national loan-to-share ratio reached an all-time high since 2008. On December 31, 2008, it was 83.2% but continued to decline from that point on until it bottomed out in 2013. Since then, the loan-to-share ration has been climbing, and 10 years later it’s finally back up to 82.9% as of June 30, 2018. While things are looking up for the nation as a whole, the loan-to-share ratios actually differ by state, with a few standouts:Maryland: One of the ways loan-to-share ratios can be deceiving is that high ratios do not necessarily mean that credit union has large loan and share balances. It’s possible for a credit union to have the largest loan-to-share ratio in their region while also having the lowest loan and share balances. The state with the biggest increase in their loan-to-share ratio right now is Maryland. Their loan-to-share ratio has increased 13.6% over the past 3 years, which is more than any other state in that same period.last_img read more

Tech revelation puts Gaylord on right track for BST checkers

first_imgHOLYOKE, Colo. (July 21) – Ryan Gaylord’s journey to victory lane Monday night at Phillips County Raceway got its start two nights before in the tech area at Calhan.“I had been struggling and they found the left side wheelbase was way off at Calhan,” Gaylord explained after his $1,000 IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modified feature win in the Precise Racing Products BST show at Holyoke. “That was a blessing in disguise because it really helped us turn the car around.” Gaylord ran seventh at El Paso County Speedway and worked out some kinks with a mid-pack finish Sunday at Thomas County Speedway. He wrapped up the four-night BST swing with his first feature win of the season.“We needed this one. It seems like we’ve been getting a lot of seconds,” Gaylord said. “My brother Tripp was crewing for Kenny Wallace, too, and made the changes to my car and told me just to worry about driving.”After drawing the outside row one start, Gaylord stayed on the higher line and eventually caught Ken Schrader for the lead just after midway in the 25-lap main event.He motored to the win ahead of Schrader, Dominic Ursetta, Eddie Belec and Jake Adler. “I think that was one of the best drives of my life,” the new 2015 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifier said. “I’d been doing a lot of stupid things on the track, making stupid mistakes. This time I stayed focused and did what I needed to win.”Angel Munoz, Nick Tubbs and Ondre Rexford ran 1-2-3 in the Addiction Chassis BST Series feature for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars. Chad Dolan was the winner for the fifth time in six Leary Racing Products BST Series outings for Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods. Bryan Herrick and Brandon Clough were next across the stripe.Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. Ryan Gaylord; 2. Ken Schrader; 3. Dominic Ursetta; 4. Eddie Belec; 5. Jake Adler; 6. Beau Speicher; 7. John Hansen; 8. Greg Gustus; 9. Jesse Taylor; 10. Kenny Wallace; 11. Bill Brack; 12. Jeremy Frenier; 13. John Burrow Jr.; 14. Greg Sharpe; 15. James Krehmeyer; 16. Garrett Sporhase; 17. Danny Concelman; 18. Jeff Hunter.Stock Cars – 1. Angel Munoz; 2. Nick Tubbs; 3. Ondre Rexford; 4. Jason Noyes; 5. Gregory Gutt; 6. Kurt Trusty. Northern SportMods – 1. Chad Dolan; 2. Bryan Herrick; 3. Brandon Clough; 4. Ryan Moser; 5. Tom Nelson Jr.; 6. Henry Henderson; 7. Mike Lininger; 8. Tom Quint; 9. Brian Cross; 10. Trevor Geist.last_img read more

Lady Bulldog Spikers On The Winning Side Versus Lady Wildcats

first_imgThe Franklin County Wildcats traveled to Batesville High School for a conference matchup. The Batesville Varsity won in 3 sets 25-15, 25-23, 25-17 extending their record to 4-2 on the season.Leading the team in kills was Katie Bedel with 11 followed by Cayman Werner with 9. The defense was led by Macy Prickel in blocks and Laney Walsman & Regina Gerstbauer in digs. Kylie Laker had another consistent night in setting with a team-high of 21 assists on the night.The Bulldogs will be in action again on Thursday night against the East Central Trojans. Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Kateri Paul.The Batesville JV Volleyball Team picked up a solid win vs. Franklin County winning by the scores 25-17, 25-9. Sydnee Schaefer set the pace from the service line hitting all 16 of her serves scoring 13 points including 3 aces. Shelby Westerfeld and Sophie Lee were dominant at the net with 6 and 4 kills respectively. Brayleigh Patterson notched 2 kills on well placed attacks. Kaitlyn Sarringhaus set well in the second set picking up 4 assists. The team’s record is now 4-2. Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Shelly Prickel.‘Tonight wasn’t a total loss, this was a close match and could have went either way multiple times. These girls did struggle with a few serve receive errors and hitting errors but those can be corrected. I am very proud of this teams efforts tonight. They played well.’ Wildcats Coach Jill Mergenthal.’Audrey Reister had 2 ace serves, 1 touch on a block, 4 digs, and 1 assist. Kelly Layton had 2 ace serves, 4 assists, and 6 digs. Rachel Bischoff had 1 ace serve, 2 digs and 2 block. Jalynn Rogers had 1 ace serve, 8 digs and 1 assist. Makyah Richardson had 4 kills and 4 blocks. Rae Ertel had 1 kill and 1 dig. Anna Sacksteder had 4 blocks. Charlotte Barrett had 2 blocks. Mercedez Waddell had 1 kill. Kelsey Vail had 2 digs.We are back at home playing North Decatur this Thursday, Aug 29th. Come out and support your Lady Cats. JV game starts at 5:30 pm. We Are FC!!!Our Franklin County junior varsity lost a tough two sets to EIAC opponent Batesville 25-17, 25-9.This brings our record to 2-2. We will host North Decatur Thursday night.Courtesy of Wildcats Coach Logan Allen.last_img read more