Dairy Center Heralded for Producing Some of the Nation’s Best Milk
The MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center produces some pretty good milk. Actually, it’s great milk. In fact, it’s some of the best milk in the United States.
For the second year in a row, the MSU dairy farm was the recipient of the prestigious platinum National Dairy Quality Award from the NMC. The NMC only recognized seven dairy farms from across the country as worthy of receiving a platinum award for 2009.
“I’m really proud that the MSU Dairy Farm was the recipient of this award for the second year in a row, but I can’t take full credit myself for winning it,” said Bob Kreft, farm manager. “Winning this award is possible because of all of the employees that work with the cows on a day-to-day basis.
“The MSU Dairy Farm is fortunate because its employees are really interested in the cows and dedicated to doing their individual jobs well,” he continued. “It’s a team effort - each member of the team has a role to play in producing milk of high quality.”
Kreft attributes the high quality of milk produced at MSU to clean, healthy cows and productive employees. Milk produced at the MSU Dairy Farm is sold through the Michigan Milk Producers Association, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Novi.
“Dairy farmers have a huge responsibility caring for their animals,” said Kreft. “Properly caring for the animals keeps the cows healthy and somatic cell counts down, which means the milk produced is of a higher quality.”
The same goes for farming the land and producing feed for the cows to eat.
“Taking good care of the land and crops means that the animals have access to higher quality feed, and this makes a big difference in animal health and production,” said Kreft. “It’s about providing the animals with a clean, sanitary place to live; quality feed and good care.”
The MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center herd consists of 150 milk cows and 150 heifers and calves. Cows are milked twice daily and can produce an average of 28,000 pounds of milk per year - which is equivalent to 9.5 gallons or 85 pounds per day. The cows are all purebred Holsteins.
The MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center serves as a hub for research, teaching and MSU Extension programs. Research, much of it by MABR scientists, is conducted in nutrition, mammary and reproductive physiology, animal breeding and selection, and dairy management.
On afternoons, the public can watch the cows being milked from an observation deck above the milking parlor. For more information about the MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center, visit the website or call 517-432-1465.
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