Ohio Dairy Challenge, October 2018

Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The 2018 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held October 26-27 and was sponsored by ADM Animal Nutrition, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Provimi North America, Purina Animal Nutrition, Sexing Technologies, and Balchem. 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 Ruprecht Dairy Farm in Butler, OH owned by Ken, Marilyn, and Lyle Ruprecht. The Ruprecht family moved to their current location in 1997 with about 35 cows and continued to steadily expand over the years to whereby today they have about 200 cows. In 2016, they built a new calf barn, freestall barn, sand separation lanes, lagoon, and a bunker silo. Cows are milked 3 times-a-day in a double 6 herringbone parlor. The forages grown on the farm include corn silage and alfalfa. There were 48 undergraduate students (13 teams; 7 students from ATI and 41 from the Columbus campus), 24 veterinary students, and 3 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 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 novice division were:Larissa Deikun (Cargill/Provimi), Bob Hostetler (Sexing Technologies), Luis Moraes (Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), and Greta Stridsberg (Balchem). The judges for the experienced division were: Alan Chestnut (Cargill/Provimi), Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences), Brian Lammers (ADM Animal Nutrition), and Dwight Roseler (Purina Animal Nutrition). Shaun Wellert with ATI also assisted with the program. The awards banquet was held on Saturday, October 27 at the Fawcett Center on the OSU Columbus campus. The top two teams in the novice division consisted of: Arden Bishop, Marisa Lake, Heather Kaplan, Heather Pechtl, Rebekah Fries, Emily Gaglione,

Hilary Kordecki, and Katia Hardman. The top team in the experienced division consisted of Lexie Nunes, Morgan Westover, Kate Sherman, and Hunter Meese. Students will be selected to represent Ohio at the National Contest and to participate in the Dairy Challenge Academy to be held in Tifton, GA during March 28-30, 2018. Students from ATI participated in the Northeast Regional Dairy Challenge held November 8-10, 2018 in Fairlee, VT, and students from the Columbus campus will be participating in the Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge hosted by University of Illinois during February 13-15, 2019 in Freeport, IL. 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/

 Pictured (left to right): Lyle, Marilyn, and Ken Ruprecht.
 Novice Division (left to right): Heather Pechtl, Arden Bishop,
 Marisa Lake, and Heather Kaplan.     
 Novice Division: Katia Hardman, Emily Gaglione,
 Hilary Kordecki, and Rebekah Fries.                                          
  Experienced Division: Lexie Nunes, Kate Sherman,
 Morgan Westover, and Hunter Meese.