Cows kicked out of class as coronavirus clears UW campus


Cows kicked out of class as coronavirus clears UW campus

The lack of students on campus has caused the University of Wisconsin’s Dairy Science program to move the cows off-campus, too.

Department Chair Kent Weigel says, “Not knowing where things were heading with our labor force and with campus, for the most part, shut down, certainly, students aren’t there, so we aren’t using the cows in teaching classes.”

Weigel tells Brownfield one dairy research project is being delayed, but with many staff and grad students gone, it made sense to move the 84 on-campus research cows to the program’s main dairy operations at the Arlington and Marshfield research stations.

Weigel says they also culled 69 cows between the three sites. “A lot of do-not-breed cows and open culls that we were using for teaching, those sorts of things, and so we reduced numbers. It will take a little time to build those back up with our heifer populations.”

Weigel tells Brownfield they have more than enough heifers at the Marshfield Research Station when the time comes to rebuild the herd.  He says the upside of the culling is it allows the campus to bring in several high-potential animals, but it may take a couple of months after the all-clear is given on the coronavirus before some research projects can begin.

The final milking at the Dairy Cattle Center was Friday, March 27th. Weigel says staff will spend the next several days doing maintenance and power washing to prepare for reopening.

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