Among the many student, faculty and alumni achievements chronicled throughout the pages of this and other UNH Magazine editions, it’s important to note that sometimes, the school’s dairy cows need a pat on the back too.
Well, in reality—the kudos go to the dairy managers, says the Dairy Farmers of America organization.
UNH’s dairy cows and their managers, producing an average of about 26,000 pounds of milk per year, have helped the university’s Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center garner a 2014 Gold Quality Award from the Dairy Farmers of America, that nation’s leading milk cooperative.
The Dairy Farmers of America tests milk for a number of factors that indicate herd health, hygiene and sanitation. Among those is the somatic cell count. Dairy herds with a low somatic cell count tend to be more profitable herds since they have reduced treatment and veterinary costs for mastitis (which is the most common and costliest disease for dairy cattle), higher milk production per cow and higher milk prices.
As a result of receiving the Gold Quality Award, UNH is paid the highest price for its milk. Dairy Farmers of America works with nearly 13,000 dairy producers in 48 states. UNH’s milk goes to the Hood plant in Concord.
The DFA credited Fairchild staff Jon Whitehouse and John Weeks for doing “a masterful job making high quality milk” for the cooperative.
Celebrating its 25th year of operation this year, the Fairchild Dairy Center houses 87 milking-age Holstein and Jersey cows and approximately 70 juveniles. Included in that number is the 20-cow, student-managed Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM) herd, with the remaining animals devoted primarily to research in the area of dairy nutrition and reproductive biology. The center is part of the N.H. Agriculture Experiment Station at UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.
Want to check out the herd? Fairchild Dairy Center is open to the public seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and visitors can observe the milking of cows at 3:30 p.m. each day. Learn more
Originally published in UNH Magazine—Winter 2015 Issue