UPES Dairy Herd to be Dispersed

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Due to the budget situation in Michigan, MSU has had to make budget cuts. Regrettably, some of these reductions affect Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station operations in the Upper Peninsula.

MSU currently maintains three dairy herds: one at the South Campus Farms on the main campus, one at the Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, and one at the Upper Peninsula Experiment Station (UPES) in Chatham. Each dairy herd program was reviewed.

The UPES herd review revealed that no future research projects are being planned for the herd by either the Department of Animal Science or the College of Veterinary Medicine. Logistical factors, including distance from the main campus and the size of the herd, also contributed to decisions about the future of the herd. The location makes it very difficult for faculty members to conduct research using the UPES herd. The distance is more problematic for animal scientists than for other MSU researchers. For example, a crop scientist lives at the station and can oversee agronomic projects for campus faculty members. Similarly, the small number of animals makes it difficult to conduct statistically relevant research in a timely manner. Ultimately, the final decision to disperse the herd was based on programmatic needs.

Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station administrators emphasized that dairy research will continue at the UPES. After the herd is sold this summer, the money will be reinvested into the UPES. Issues related to milk production, nutrition, husbandry, and animal welfare and disease will continue to be addressed using the remaining two herds as well as national research programs in dairy science and veterinary medicine. Research will continue on agronomic crops suitable for the Upper Peninsula dairy industry.

“We had to make some hard choices in these hard budget times,” said John Baker, MAES associate director. “But we will continue to serve the dairy industry in the Upper Peninsula through research on forages and other crops for dairy herds in the U.P.”

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