Field day shows dairy business from ‘cow to cone’

Linda Benedict, Morgan, Johnny W.  |  11/15/2011 11:05:24 PM

For an urban university, it may be a well-kept secret that some of the best dairy products in Louisiana are produced on the LSU campus.

Those who attended a dairy field day, which was dubbed "From Cow to Cone," on Nov. 2 were shown what happens at the campus dairy and the creamery – from feeding young calves to making ice cream.

"There’s been a working dairy on this campus since 1904, when four cows were bought from the University of Missouri," said Gary Hay, director of the School of Animal Sciences.

Those cows were shipped down the Mississippi River on a barge and started what is now a full-time dairy that milks nearly 100 cows twice every day, Hay said.

At the dairy, the group toured the milking parlor and was shown how the operation works with most of its labor provided by students.

"We wanted to show them the work that we are doing in disease prevention and calf growth and management," Hay said.

At the creamery, the group saw how ice cream and cheese are made and participated in a taste test of milk to see if they could tell which of three samples had an oxidation problem that affects the flavor.

"In the creamery, we’re developing functional foods, which are dairy foods with enhanced nutritional qualities," Hay said. "We also are doing some research with product shelf life to make products last a little bit longer." The campus dairy represents a truly unique marriage between the LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture, said John Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research.

"Our research interacts with graduate student training," Russin said.

Johnny Morgan

(This article was published in the fall 2011 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)

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