2016 Ohio Dairy Challenge Contest Huge Success

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

The 2016 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held October 21-22 and was sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition, Elanco, Purina Animal Nutrition, Renaissance Nutrition, Sexing Technologies, and VitaPlus. 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 Three Flags Dairy in Forest, OH owned by Geert and Wiesje Kruiter. The Kruiter family started milking at the facility in 2010, and there are about 715 cows in the operation. Cows are milked 3 times-a-day in a double 16 herringbone parlor. The forages grown on the farm include alfalfa and grass silages, corn silage, and small grain silage. There were 69 undergraduate students (19 teams) and 16 graduate and veterinary 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:  Allan Chestnut (Cargill/Provimi), Bob Hostetler (Renaissance Nutrition), Dr. Andrew Kniesly (VitaPlus), and Michelle Lahmers (Cargill Animal Nutrition). The judges for the experienced division were: Ryan Aberle (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Mark Armfelt (Elanco), Laura Homan (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Dwight Roseler (Purina Animal Nutrition), and Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences). Dr. Shaun Wellert with ATI also assisted with the program. The awards banquet was held on Saturday, October 22 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Columbus campus. The top two teams in the novice division were: Sarah Hartzler, Allison Mangun, and John Paulin; Hannah Donley, Lydia Flores, Ella Jackson, and Kate Sherman. The top team in the experienced division was:  Angie Evers, Brianna Justice, Jacob Triplett, and Brittany Webb. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the 2016 National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be held in Visalia, CA during March 30 - April 1, 2017. Students from ATI participated in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge held November 3-5, 2016 in Glen Falls, NY and students from main campus will be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by University of Wisconsin-Madison during February 8-10, 2017. The coach for the Dairy Challenge program at ATI is Dr. Shaun Wellert and Dr. Maurice Eastridge is the coach for the Columbus campus.

Novice Division (left to right): Sarah Hartzler, John Paulin,
and Allison Mangun.

Novice Division (left to right): Ella Jackson, Kate Sherman,
and Lydia Flores (Hannah Donley, not pictured).

First Place Team, Experienced Division (left to right):
Jacob Triplett, Brittany Webb, Bryanna Justice, and Angie Evers.