Students Excel in 2010 Ohio Dairy Challenge Contest

This update was written by Dr. Maurice Eastridge, Extension Dairy Specialist, The Ohio State University and published in the December 2010 Buckeye Dairy News.

The 2010 Ohio Dairy Challenge was held November 19-20 and was again sponsored by Cargill Animal Nutrition. The Dairy Challenge provides the opportunity for undergraduates 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.

Story continues below photo slideshow.

The program is held in a contest format whereby students are grouped into teams of three to four individuals, and the first, second, and third place team members received gift certificates to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore at $100, $75, and $50 each, respectively.


The farm selected for the contest this year was the Van Raay Dairy in South Charleston, Ohio (Clark County), and it is owned by Mr. Ted Van Raay. The farm was begun in 2004 with 800 Holstein cows and today it has 2055 cows, with plans for expansion underway.


The parlor is a double-24 herringbone and cows are milked 3x per day. The rolling herd averages were 23,225 lb milk, 3.7% fat, and 3.2% protein. 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 teams spent about four hours reviewing their notes and farm records to provide a summary of the strengths and opportunities of the operation in the format of a MS PowerPoint presentation that had to be turned in on Friday evening.


On Saturday, the students then had 20 minutes to present their results and 10 minutes for questions from the judges. The judges were Mr. Fred Martsolf (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Mr. Bob Hostetler (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Ms. Michele Burky (Cargill Animal Nutrition), Dr. Maurice Eastridge (Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU), and Dr. K. Larry Smith (Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU).


There were 10 teams and 36 students that participated in the program. The awards banquet was held on Saturday, November 20 at the new Ohio Union on the OSU Columbus campus.


Click here to see results from the competition.

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