2019 Dairy Challenge

By Maurice L. Eastridge

Professor - Department of Animal Sciences

The 2019 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 1-2 and was sponsored by ADM Animal Nutrition, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Provimi North America, Purina Animal Nutrition, Sexing Technologies, and Biomin. 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. Veterinary and graduate students are 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. The farm selected for the contest this year was the Mills Dairy Farm in Hayesville, OH owned by Greg and Mark Mills. They began milking nine cows in 1968 and have been milking cows continuously since then at the same location, even though facilities have been rebuilt from tornado and fire damages. They have about 1200 cows, and the cows are milked 2 times-a-day in a double 16 parallel parlor. The forages grown on the farm include corn silage, alfalfa, and rye. There were 65 undergraduate students (18 teams; 6 students from ATI, 5 students from Wilmington College, and 54 students from the Columbus campus), 6 veterinary students, and 7 graduate students that participated. 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 three to 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 program this year were Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Bob Hostetler (Sexing Technologies), Luis Moraes (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), Alan Chestnut (Cargill/Provimi), Tana Dennis (Cargill/Provimi), Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), Brian Lammers (ADM Animal Nutrition), Rich Nisen (ADM Animal Nutrition), Dwight Roseler (Purina Animal Nutrition), Benjamin Wenner (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), and Kelly Mitchell (Research Associate, Department of Animal Sciences). Shaun Wellert with ATI and Daryl Nash from Wilmington College also assisted with the program. The awards banquet was held on Saturday, November 2 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Columbus campus. The top team consisted of three ATI students: Owen Greene, Korey Oechsle, and Kenneth Ramsier. The second place team was from the Columbus campus and consisted of: Kylie Chronister, Brietta Latham, Katie O’Hara, and Sydney Sweet. The third place team was also from the Columbus campus and consisted of: Abby Bonnot, Marissa Farmer, Johnathan McCandlish, and Paul Bensman. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be held in Green Bay, WI during March 26-28, 2020. Students from ATI participated in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by Alfred State and held November 17-19, 2019 in Rochester, NY. Students from the Columbus campus will be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by University of Wisconsin-River Falls during February 12-14, 2020. The coach for the Dairy Challenge program at ATI is Dr. Shaun Wellert and Dr. Maurice Eastridge is the coach for the Columbus campus. Additional information about the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge program can be found at: http://www.dairychallenge.org/

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First-Place Team (left to right): Korey Oechsle, Kenneth Ramsier, and Owen Greene.

Second Place Team: Brietta Latham, Sydney Sweet, Kylie Chronister, and Katie O’Hara.

Third Place Team: Johnathan McCandlish, Paul Bensman, Marissa Farmer, and Abby Bonnot.