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New life for campus dairy facility – Audio

Cows return to remodeled UW barn

Mike Peters, Dairy Herd Manager
Department of Dairy Science
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (608) 265-8957, (608) 212-9458

Saturday, March 9, the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science will hold an open house to dedicate the remodeled Dairy Cattle Center, a unique barn for teaching and research located in the heart of the campus in downtown Madison.
3:05 – Total time

0:15 – Return of cows to campus
0:30 – Features in remolded barn
0:50 – BouMatic milking center
1:10 – Mission of the Dairy Cattle Center
1:32 – The student experience
2:10 – Challenge of cows in town
2:55 – Lead out


Bringing the cows back to campus, we’re visiting today withMike Peters, Dairy Herd Manager, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

Sevie Kenyon: Mike, tell us a little bit about the return of cows to campus.

Mike Peters: In 1956, we built the barn in downtown Madison to educate our future dairy leaders. Things have changed a bit since 1956.

Sevie Kenyon: And Mike maybe you can tell us a little bit about some of the new features in the remodeled barn.

Mike Peters: We have stalls that are now the right size for today’s modern Holstein, we have gel-filled mattresses for our cows to be comfortably housed and we also have improved ventilation, so even in the hot summer months our evaporative cool cells with help keep our cows comfortable and making milk.

Sevie Kenyon: Can you tell us a little bit about the new milking system here?

Mike Peters: Yes, BouMatic Incorporated based out of Madison, right here in Wisconsin was extremely generous to the college and state. They donated a full double six herring bone parlor to us so we are able to teach tomorrow’s dairy leaders in a modern dairy milking parlor.

Sevie Kenyon: What specifically is the mission of this facility?

Mike Peters: This facility specifically here to allow us to do research and instruction. We have no other needs and no other reasons to be here if we are not educating tomorrow’s dairy leaders and if we’re not doing research that will drive how the industry can be profitable in the future.

Sevie Kenyon: And Mike, I’d like you to describe a little bit what the student experience is here?

Mike Peters: When I say students I mean everything from a pre-school young person all the way up through graduate school here at UW-Madison. All of these people are our students; we’re bringing them in and we’re educating them on the dairy industry either from a very basic or advanced level. We are able now to provide a good environment to do that where we have a welcoming area, a place for them to put on bio-security boots, and we’re able to really get the students involved and hands on with the cows and we have a teaching area to do that that’s been updated immensely.

Sevie Kenyon: Mike, give us an idea of how you take care of cattle right in the middle of town?

Mike Peters: Yeah you know certainly being right in the middle of the city comes with its challenges. We have two upright silos that are filled with pre-ensiled feed from our research stations. The feed is trucked in and re-filled into the silos. With some neat partnerships with the physical plant here on campus we do composting for both our cow manure and post-consumer waste that comes out of our Unions. We mix all of that together for composting, that goes to our West Madison Research Station, where the cow manure is composted and it becomes an extremely valuable product for fertilizing gardens here on campus or for going out for using in any number of places around the city, metropolitan area.

Sevie Kenyon: We have been visiting with Mike Peters, Dairy Herd Manager, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.