By Maurice L. Eastridge, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University
The 2013 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 15-16 and was again sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition. The Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for students at Ohio State University to experience the process of evaluating management practices on a dairy farm and to interact with representatives in the dairy industry. The program is held in a contest format for undergraduate students whereby they are grouped into teams of three to four individuals. Last year was the first year that veterinary students were invited to attend the farm visit and participate in a meeting later in the evening with the contest judges to discuss observations on the farm. This year, graduate students from Animal Sciences were also invited to participate in the same manner as veterinary students. The farm selected for the contest this year was the Hendren Dairy II in Centerburg, OH (Licking County). The dairy farm is a partnership among Fred Hendren and his two sons. Dale Hendren and his son, Michael, manage the dairy farm. The operation consists of 985 cows milked in a double-14 parallel parlor. There were 56 undergraduate students that participated (15 teams), with 6 students being from the Agricultural Technical Institute. There were 30 veterinary students and 3 graduate students that participated. The undergraduate teams this year were divided into novice and experienced divisions for judging purposes. The contest started by the students and the judges spending about two hours at the farm on Friday afternoon, interviewing the owner and examining the specific areas of the dairy facility. During Friday evening, the undergraduate teams spent about four hours reviewing their notes and farm records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities for the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation that had to be turned in on Friday evening. On Saturday, the undergraduate students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges for the novice division were: Dr. Normand St-Pierre (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), Dr. Kristy Daniels (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), Laura Weiss (Cargill Animal Nutrition), and Michelle Burky (Cargill Animal Nutrition); and the judges for the experienced division were: Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Katie Cowles (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Patrick Hart (Cargill Animal Nutrition), and Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU). The awards banquet was held on Saturday, November 16 at the Ohio Union.
The top teams in the novice division were: First place – Marina Cable, Megan Kelly, Emily Dudash, and Carter Wallinger; and Second Place – Duane Stutzman, Amanda Adkins, Deanne Fredriks, and Lauren Vacchieno. The top teams in the experienced division were: First Place (photo above right, left to right) – Kara Uhlenhake, Kristen Wright, Sarah Finney, and Rixt Miedema; Second Place – Joey Brown, Zekel Dicke, Alex Hohlbein, and Erin Williams; and Third place: Kira Andre, Dan Grim, and Shane Simons. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the 2014 National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be hosted by Ohio State, Michigan State, and Purdue universities during April 3-5 in Ft. Wayne, IN. Students from OSU will also be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI to be held February 5-7, 2013. The coach for the Dairy Challenge is Dr. Maurice Eastridge in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State.