Students Excelled at the 2015 Ohio Dairy Challenge

Dr. Maurice L. Eastridge, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The 2015 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held October 30-31 and was sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition, Purina, Renaissance Nutrition, Elanco, and Sexing Technologies. 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 Van Raay Dairy in South Charleston, OH owned by Ted Van Raay. The dairy farm began in 2004 with about 800 cows and is currently at about 2360 cows. Cows are milked 3 times-a-day in a double 36 parallel parlor. The forages consist of corn silage, alfalfa haylage, and straw. There were 56 undergraduate students (15 teams), 21 veterinary students, and 6 graduate students that participated. The undergraduate teams this year were again 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) Michelle Lahmers (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Allen Johnson (Purina), and Bob Hostetler (Renaissance Nutrition). The judges for the experienced division were: Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Mark Armfelt (Elanco), Tom Noyes (OSU Agricultural Technical Institute staff), and Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences). The awards banquet was held on Saturday, October 31 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Columbus campus. The top teams in the novice division were: First place – Allison Mangun, Angie Evers, and Bryanna Justice; Second Place – Jacob Triplett, David Pitts, and Britney Webb; and Honorable Mention – Victoria Cole, Alex Hurst, Dustin Meyer, Travis Simons, and Dustin White. The top teams in the experienced division were:  First Place – Logan Bauman, Clint Gasser, Jan Miedema, and Sytske Miedema; and Second Place – Amanda Crace, Sarah Harp, and Meghan Sanders. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the 2016 National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be held in Syracuse, NY during April 7-9. Students from OSU also will be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by University of Wisconsin Platteville and Southwest Technical College in Platteville, WI February 17-19, 2015. The coach for the Dairy Challenge is Dr. Maurice Eastridge in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State.

First Place Team, Experienced Division (left to right): Jan Miedema, Clint Gasser,
Logan Bauman, and Sytske Miedema.

First Place Team, Novice Division (left to right): Bryanna Justice, Allison Mangun, and Angie Evers.