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SDSU Dairy Cattle Place Highly at State Fair Competition

12 September 2008
University of South Dakota

UK - The South Dakota State University Dairy Research and Training Facility provides answers to feed study research questions and a place for hands-on student training. But it also produces champion cows.

At the 2008 South Dakota State Fair, SDSU was named premier breeder and exhibitor for the Brown Swiss show, and several Holstein and Brown Swiss took individual honors.

"In the Holsteins, we had the honorable mention junior champion of the show, a second-place senior 2-year-old cow, plus a third-place senior 3-year-old cow," said Matthew Laubach, manager of the SDSU Dairy Research and Training Facility. "For our Brown Swiss, we had junior and reserve champion for the junior division, and we also had the intermediate and the reserve intermediate champions."

Laubach, who also serves as a dairy science lecturer, said a Brown Swiss SDSU cow was named reserve senior champion of the show. Laubach, along with staff and SDSU students, took 11 animals to the fair, competing against more than 70 head of Holstein dairy cattle and almost two-dozen Brown Swiss.

"We also had the Brown Swiss reserve grand champion, which was our intermediate champion, she ended up placing as reserve grand, and she was also named best udder of the show," said Laubach. "We faced strong competition and we came away happy with the results."

Beyond the competition ring, Laubach and his staff have been busy improving the facility, one that serves many purposes on the SDSU campus.

"The No. 1 reason why we are here is for research. We've conducted approximately five feeding trials in the last year, looking at different feedstuffs, amounts of feedstuffs, and that work will continue," he said. "Our other primary mission is teaching, because we're training students how to take the information they learn in the classroom and apply it a practical setting."

Improvements at the facility include resurfaced stalls for cows, an enhanced fan and sprinkler system in the barn, and increased bulk feed storage. Laubach said the improvements should help keep the site up to speed on developments in the industry.

"We've poured new concrete to lengthen the stalls, replaced all the stalls in the barn, and widened them, to keep up with the larger cows that we have," he said. "As the dairy industry changes, we see the need to keep up, and we're making improvements to this facility to keep it top-notch."

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