UW-Madison Dairy Science Students Win First Place at National Dairy Challenge

VISALIA, CA. – Students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science took first place at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, held April 12-14 in Visalia, CA.

Ted Halbach, coach, Logan Voigts, Charles Hamilton, Connor Willems, Anthony Schmitz, and Dr. David Combs, coach.

Dairy Challenge is an applied dairy management competition that requires students to analyze a commercial farm and present their observations and management recommendations to a panel of industry professionals. Judges include dairy producers, veterinarians, farm finance specialists and agribusiness personnel. 

34 universities and two aggregate teams participated in the 2018 Dairy Challenge, with nine teams of four students competing on each of the four contest dairies. The team from UW-Madison included Connor Willems, of Reedsville, Wis., Anthony Schmitz, of Fond du Lac, Wis., Logan Voigts, of Belmont, Wis., and Charles Hamilton, of Cuba City, Wis. They were coached by Ted Halbach, faculty associate in dairy management, and David Combs, professor of dairy nutrition and management.

The team analyzed Rancho Sierra Vista Dairy from Visalia, CA. The free stall dairy operation milks 2,450 cows in a double 32 herringbone parlor with 22 full-time employees. The herd’s average production is 88 lbs. of milk per cow, per day, which ranks in the top 50 percent of California dairies.  The operation also raises 3200 young stock, including dairy steers.

On the Rancho Sierra Vista Dairy Cornell University placed second. Other teams that competed on this farm were: Delaware Valley University, Dordt College, Purdue University, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of Maine at Orono and Tarleton State University.

In addition to UW-Madison, first place team awards went to California Polytechnic State University, Iowa State University and Michigan State University. Each member of the winning teams received $200 scholarships.

for more information, contact Ted Halbach at (608) 263-3305 or tjhalbach@wisc.edu