August 1, 2023
The Kansas State University Dairy Teaching and Research Center (DTRC) announced in June it will be restructuring its cow herd and management strategy.
According to Mike Day, the Kansas State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry department head, this temporary herd reduction will be the first step toward replacing the aging facilities at the research farm north of campus in Manhattan, Kan.
“The challenging labor situations found across the country are no different for K-State, and the aging facility exacerbates this situation,” explained Billy Brown, K-State assistant professor. “We have carefully considered how many cows we need to maintain, in the short term, to optimize cow care and facilities while providing high-quality knowledge in the form of research, teaching and Extension activities.”
“Our DTRC produces benefits beyond milk, such as the next generation of dairy leaders and highly impactful research and outreach activities,” added Victor Gomez León, K-State dairy Extension specialist. “In the short-term, reducing the herd number would be the most sustainable decision to continue providing those opportunities and services during a period of labor shortage in these aging facilities. A state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology would help ensure that we conduct teaching, research and Extension efforts that are up to modern dairy industry standards for decades into the future.”
The department also announced that this summer Mike Brouk, K-State professor and Extension dairy specialist, will be transferring his faculty coordinator responsibilities of the DTRC to Brown and fellow Gomez León. Brown and Gomez León will jointly supervise the day-to-day operations of the DTRC.
“Despite the challenges, Dr. Brouk has gone above and beyond his impactful Extension, research and teaching contributions to ensure that the DTRC fulfilled its role in our teaching, research and Extension missions for the past two years,” Day said. “Many thanks to Mike for his dedication and commitment to the department and DTRC.”
Kansas dairy dates to remember
The Kansas Dairy Association reminds dairy farmers and their families of important dates coming up in August and September they need to remember.
Aug. 11. W. Harold Skelly Leadership Award applications are due. The Kansas 4-H Dairy Action Team presents the W. Harold Skelly Leadership Award to 4-H members, at least 16 years of age as of Jan. 1, who have been enrolled in the Dairy Project for a minimum of three years. Winners can receive the award only once. The application and award details can be found at bit.ly/kstatejrdairyshow.
Aug. 17-19. Kansas All Breeds Junior Dairy Show at the Saline County Livestock and Expo Center, Salina. Entries are due Aug. 11. Only grade and leased dairy animals with the proper ID certificates by June 15 are eligible to exhibit at state shows. The original ID form and picture must be kept by the 4-H’er for presentation at the show, and a copy needs to be turned into the local Extension office. For registration and other details, visit bit.ly/kstatejrdairyshow.
Aug. 17. Kansas Governor’s Summit on Agricultural Growth, Manhattan Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan, Kan. The event is free to attend, but the Kansas Department of Agriculture requests registration at www.agriculture.ks.gov/summit. Watch for information about a virtual Dairy Industry Sector session.
Sept. 8. Homemade Ice Cream and Ice Cream Topping contests, 3 p.m., at the Domestic Arts Building at the Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson. Contest is sponsored by Kansas Dairy. Pre-entry is recommended and costs $1. On-site registration is allowed but space is limited. Entries will be received from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 8, with judging to follow. Recipes for each entry are required for both contests. See the online rules under Competitive Exhibits-Foods at bit.ly/KSFcreativeagexhibit.
Sept. 10-11. Kansas State Fair Dairy Show, Hutchinson. See Kansas State Fair online rule book for details at kansasstatefair.com. Don’t forget to stop by the Kansas Dairy Bar under the Grandstands for your annual treat. And be sure to take in more dairy educational activities around the grounds.
Sept. 16. Homemade Cheesecake Contest, 11 a.m., at the Domestic Arts Building at the Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson. Contest is sponsored by Kansas Dairy. Pre-entry is recommended and costs $1. On-site registration is allowed but space is limited. Entries will be received from 9 to 10:30 a.m. the day of the contest. Two classes will be judged — traditional plain and variations on cheesecakes.
The Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and Kansas Dairy contributed to this article.
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