That's a Lot of Bull
We’ve had six bull calves in a row now. I don’t know the statistical probability of that. It’s not only a series of six with two possible outcomes (male or female), but also a series of six same sex calves out of approximately 80 that we’ve had over the years. That’s more than I can remember from my Intro to Statistics class. One of our interns, Ida who is a math fanatic, tells me she is working on it. But until she gives me a scientifically produced number let’s just say the odds are stretching credulity.
[Update: Thanks to Scott, one of our CSA members, we now know the answer: 1.56%. Each event is .5 probability and all six are independent. .5x.5x.5x.5x.5x.5 = 0.0156].
Another CSA member raises sheep. So far this lambing season her ratio is 5:1 rams to ewes. Last year though ewe lambs dominated. Something in the water? Astrological? Climate change? I’m going to assume that if we zoom out to a larger perspective these are still random events in spite of our small sample trends.
And here is some more bull: California and Texas lead the US in organic dairy production, accounting for more than one third the organic milk sales nationally. Let me repeat that: Two states supply 1/3 the country's organic milk. The average organic dairy in California has 469 cows. Texas, with only six (6) certified organic dairies, produces 11% of the nation’s organic milk with an average of 4,617 cows per farm. You have to wonder how sustainable this is considering that Texas has little grassland and California is quickly running out of water.
In comparison, the average organic dairy farm in the Northeast (Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont) has 58 milk cows. Where would you rather get your milk from?
Randy Robar, co-owner of Kiss the Cow Farm