University’s UDairy Creamery dishes out winter delights

January 10, 2013 under CANR News

Although ice cream may not be the first thing on everyone’s mind throughout these cold winter months, things do not slow down at the University of Delaware’s UDairy Creamery, where fresh ice cream is made daily.

Of the limited-edition flavors that were released for the holiday season, some are still being offered. Among them are amaretto cookie, peppermint hot chocolate and the best-selling holiday flavor, peppermint bark.

This year, too, the creamery is developing winter flavors – something it has never done before.

UDairy Creamery ice creamAccording to Melinda Litvinas, UDairy Creamery manager, they are working to create new flavors that will be released this month, some of which will remind us of warmer days. Although most of the soon-to-be-released flavors are still under wraps, one promised delight is coconut.

Another premier event for the creamery is the development of a new, intriguing flavor to be created in honor of the 90th anniversary of UD’s study abroad programs. Details are being kept quiet until the flavor has been finalized.

For those looking to keep warm, UDairy Creamery also offers a nice variety of hot drinks. While the specialty is homemade hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream, the creamery also provides tea, various flavors of coffee and cappuccino.

The creamery is hoping to attract visitors during this season’s sporting events, and is serving at all men’s and women’s home basketball games. The Fred Rust Ice Arena is also providing free UDairy Creamery ice cream during Family Fun Weekends being held Jan. 26 and Feb. 17.

Winter hours

The winter hours are very agreeable to the season with the UDairy Creamery open until 7 p.m. every night, and opening at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 11 a.m. on weekends.

For those who have a craving for delicious ice cream, but find the creamery – located off South College Avenue near UD’s Townsend Hall — a little out of the way, limited flavors of ice cream are sold at the University of Delaware’s Barnes and Noble Bookstore and at Marriott’s Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware.

The ice cream continues to be sold in all the markets on campus, including Rodney, Harrington and the POD on the Laird Campus.

Article by Samantha Walsh

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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These unique holiday gift ideas have a First State focus

December 17, 2012 under CANR News

blanket_yarnHaven’t finished your holiday shopping yet? You’re not alone. Only 47 percent of Americans have their shopping wrapped up by the second week of December, according to the National Retail Federation. But the clock is ticking.

No worries. We’ve rounded up some great gift ideas. Best yet, many of these choices have a uniquely Delaware focus. Some – like soil test kits and garden gloves – are tailor-made for outdoorsy types. Other gifts – like Delaware wool blankets — work equally well for couch potatoes who just gaze at the landscape from their windows.

Sure-fire way to get owls in the backyard

The young – and young at heart – will love Hoot the Owl, a chubby creature made from sunflower seed, with apple and apricot rings for eyes and an almond for the mouth.

“I stuck one in my backyard and set up a time-release camera,” says Charles Shattuck, who, with his wife Kathy, owns Wild Birds Unlimited in Hockessin. “I’m getting a wide variety of birds feeding at it. By late December, I expect ‘Hoot’ and my other feeders will be attracting white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches; downy, red-bellied and hairy woodpeckers; and yellow-bellied sap suckers.”

At $9.50, Hoot the Owl is a good choice for a stocking stuffer or gift exchange at work.

Wild Birds also stocks black oil sunflower seed in bulk that is grown locally, by Jamie Hicks of Kennett Square, Pa. Buy a pound or several pounds for the birdwatcher on your list.

Most serious birdwatchers prefer black oil seed. It has a higher oil content than other varieties so it provides the birds with more calories. Plus, small birds have an easier time cracking its thinner shell.

Or, consider a $22 hand-painted ornament by Dover artist Marcia Poling. Choose images of bluebirds, woodpeckers and warblers, as well as deer, rabbit and other mammals.  “They’ve been selling well,” says Shattuck.

Warm and woolly choices

The University of Delaware’s flock of Dorset ewes are sheared every spring before going out to summer pasture. Previously, their wool was sold at a regional auction to wool processors. Then farm superintendent Scott Hopkins and Lesa Griffiths, professor of animal and food sciences, put their heads together and, soon after, Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn was born. Now, after the sheep are sheared, the wool is sent to a Canadian mill to create cozy blankets.

A lap throw style, the blanket has plenty of heft — each requires four pounds of wool. Get one for $100 at the UDairy Creamery on UD’s South Campus. For creamery hours go to the website.

Hori hori knives and other garden gear

When it comes to garden tools, Carrie Murphy is a minimalist. A UD Cooperative Extension horticulture agent, Murphy gets by with a few common tools plus one that’s a bit more exotic. “I use my hori hori knife all the time,” she says.

In Japanese, the word “hori” means to dig and that’s exactly what Murphy does with her knife, plus pruning and weeding and a whole lot more. It’s the Swiss army knife of gardening.

At Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, the hori hori is usually just called a soil knife, says owner Peg Castorani. She likes it for dividing perennials. A stainless steel version in a case costs $39.99.

Finding garden gloves that fit well can be hard, especially for women, but Castorani likes Womanswork brand. “They make form-fitting, athletic style garden gloves,” she says. The $25 gloves come in purple, lime green and other bright colors.

A plastic bag sounds like an odd present until you learn what that bag can do. Gateway stocks test kits from the University of Delaware Soil Testing Program. The $10 kits include plastic bags to obtain the necessary samples. After UD analyzes the samples, your gardener will know whether pH or fertility problems are making it more difficult to grow plants.

Bring the outside in

Native Americans used birch bark to make canoes and cover their wigwams. Today hobbyists continue to take advantage of birch’s flexible nature to craft household items, ranging from baskets to picture frames. Wilmington resident Danielle Quigley makes handcrafted wood items when she’s not working as a photographer for UD. (Quigley regularly shoots the photos for this column.) One of her best-selling items is a $325 table light featuring a birch bark shade mounted on a vintage glass base. Quigley’s personal favorite is a $150 luminaire made from silver birch bark. Check them out at the website.

Article by Margo McDonough

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Blue Hens CAN: Unified campus food drive to benefit Food Bank of Delaware

November 1, 2012 under CANR News

The University of Delaware and the Food Bank of Delaware will launch a weeklong campus-wide food drive called Blue Hens CAN from Monday, Nov. 12, through Friday, Nov. 16, to benefit those state residents who are straining to afford food.

Blue Hens CAN, a joint venture of the College of Health Sciences (CHS), the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Food Bank of Delaware, will feature a UD food collection bus parked at a different campus location each day of the week to accept items donated by the campus community.

The bus will be parked at the following locations on the following days:

  • Monday, Nov. 12: Mentor’s Circle, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 13: Laird Campus, between Smith and Independence halls, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Mentor’s Circle, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 15: South Campus, next to the UDairy Creamery, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 16: Mentor’s Circle, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

University President Patrick Harker and Patricia Beebe, Food Bank of Delaware president and CEO, will be on hand to kick off the event during a ceremony at Mentor’s Circle on Monday, Nov. 12, at 9 a.m.

Said Harker of the event, “I know this active, engaged campus community — a community that lives the principle of service every day — can come together to help end hunger in Delaware. I’m thrilled that we’re partnering with the Food Bank of Delaware — such a vital organization to so many families — and I’m excited to see the outcome of our efforts.”

“The support we have received from the University of Delaware community has been outstanding,” said Beebe. “We are looking forward to a coordinated food drive amongst all members of the University in order to collect more food for Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table. We hope the excitement surrounding Blue Hens CAN will bring in not only food, but enthusiasm for helping to alleviate hunger in the First State.”

There will be a raffle with prizes for individuals who donate items, with individuals who donate an item receiving a raffle ticket with a chance to win.

Prizes include:

  • UDairy Creamery ice cream gift basket;
  • $100 iTunes gift card from UD’s Apple Authorized Campus Store;
  • Wool blanket, made from wool of UD sheep, a $100 value; and
  • Ninety T-shirts donated by University Student Centers for the first 30 participants who come to each location. (For Mentor’s Circle, the shirts will only be handed out on Monday).

A separate competition for groups who enter items collectively will also be held. Groups are asked to submit their items together and label them clearly using the group’s full name and not abbreviations. The items will then be taken and weighed at the Food Bank of Delaware.

The group that donates the most food will win a free ice cream social from the UDairy Creamery ice cream team.

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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WEATHER ALERT-Hurricane Sandy

October 28, 2012 under CANR News

For updates and University of Delaware information as it relates to Hurricane Sandy, check the University’s homepage or UD’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.

In addition to what is posted on the UD homepage, all 4-H events, classes and meetings scheduled at UD’s Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown, DE are cancelled Monday through Wednesday. And, the UDairy Creamery will close on Sunday night at 9pm and remain closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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UDairy Creamery holds ‘Ice Cream Carnival’ to raise money for ice cream truck

October 24, 2012 under CANR News

In order to help raise funds to bring an ice cream truck to the University of Delaware campus, the UDairy Creamery hosted an “Ice Cream Carnival” on Friday, Oct. 12, from 1-5 p.m. on The Green.

The creamery is hoping to get an ice cream truck in order to service not only areas of the main Newark campus, but also to be able to travel to spots in southern Delaware.

“Another push for this ice cream truck is so that we can get ice cream down to the Georgetown campus and the Lewes campus in southern Delaware,” said Melinda Litvinas, manager of the UDairy Creamery. “We really wanted something for the State Fair, and that will help with other events, as well, and will allow us to simplify our process and bring more flavors.”

Litvinas added that the creamery’s goal is to have an ice cream truck by summer 2013.

An estimated 300 people showed up for the carnival and enjoyed all of the various activities taking place, from ice cream tasting to dizzy bat races to Merrily the Clown making balloon animals.

There was also an ice cream eating contest that took place at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. The last contest featured Homecoming court candidates, Blue Hen athletes and Newark Mayor Vance Funk.

Student groups that helped out with the carnival included Alpha Gamma Rho, Sigma Alpha and the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).

Litvinas said that the creamery may have more fundraisers in the future but that since officials are hoping to have the ice cream truck ready to go by next summer, they are now pursuing private donations in order to supplement the cost.

For more information about the ice cream truck project, email Litvinas or call her at 302-831-2486.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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Byers named FFA Agriculture Ambassador, Jones wins FFA Alumni Scholarship

September 13, 2012 under CANR News

University of Delaware student Jenna Byers has been named an FFA National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador for the second year in a row, while UD student Jake Jones has received an FFA Alumni Scholarship.

Jenna Byers

One of only 20 students nationwide to be named a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador, Byers said that it felt great to be named for the second year in a row and joked that she was, “really happy to find out that I had done ‘Ok’ the first time around.”

As a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador, Byers is required to complete 30 hours of presentations, which she will give to high schools and clubs and organizations, in order to raise awareness of the importance of agriculture and develop and implement sustainable agricultural awareness programs to inspire and motivate local communities.

Through the FFA’s National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador program, more than 103,700 people have learned the value of agriculture, with 88 students from 29 states having served as ambassadors giving 2,160 presentations in 34 states and three foreign countries.

Byers, pictured in the front row, third from the left, with her fellow FFA National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassadors

Arba Henry, instructor in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics and faculty advisor for the University of Delaware’s Collegiate FFA, said of Byers being named for the second year in a row, “Jenna was the first member of our chapter to be so honored. She is an excellent representative of our chapter, College, and University at the national Level.”

As a second year ambassador, Byers, who majors in food and agribusiness marketing and management, said that she is able to not only learn from her experiences the first time around, but also to share those experiences with her fellow ambassadors. “In addition to being able to do the presentations to different schools and different audiences, I can also work with first year ambassadors and help them.”

It also helps that she can reflect on the presentations she conducted during her first year in the program as she said, “I can pick out probably something from every presentation that I did that I wish I had done differently.”

The most important lesson that she learned, however, was that flexibility is key. “When you’re working with kids, nothing is going to go exactly the way that you planned it but if you have an idea of what you want to talk about in general, you can go in and have a good time and make sure that the students come away with the information. You don’t always have to stick right to the plan.”

Last year, Byers was able to talk with preschool students about how milk gets from a dairy farm to their refrigerator, and had a Girl Scout Troop make ice cream in a bag, which was a good tie in for the UDairy Creamery, where Byers works as marketing manager.

Although she plans to conduct talks at schools and with younger kids again this year, Byers also said that she wants to incorporate more talks geared towards civic organizations. These talks will be more conversational and aimed at addressing topics currently going on in the country, like the drought farmers faced over the summer.

“I’m hoping to be able to talk a lot about the drought situation and the fact that corn prices because of the drought are going to be spiking soon and the effect that we’re going to see from that,” said Byers.  “A lot of people who aren’t directly involved in agriculture just see the prices fluctuating and they don’t know the reasons behind it, so I’m hoping to be able to bring some light to that situation.”

Byers also said that being named a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador has had a great impact on recognition for the First State. “The cool thing now is that we have someone from Oregon so now our little slogan is ‘Reaching from Oregon to Delaware.’ So Delaware got a little shout out there, and every time somebody says it I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’”

Jake Jones

Jones, a sophomore studying plant science in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, explained that the award he received was “a scholarship awarded to a Delaware high school senior or college student who is studying agriculture.”

Jones has been involved with FFA for four years, three in high school and one at UD, and he heard about the opportunity through an e-mail sent out by Henry.

Henry said of Jones receiving the award, “Jake has been and continues to be an active member of our chapter. Over the summer, Jake interned at the UD Carvel Research Center in vegetable research. During his freshmen year, Jake maintained the highest GPA of all Collegiate FFA freshmen members.”

Jones said that his favorite part about FFA is, “the opportunity for scholarships and community involvement.”

Article by Adam Thomas

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UD’s Hunt lands job as store manager with Hopkins Farm Creamery

August 27, 2012 under CANR News

Until he came to the University of Delaware, Jacob Hunt had never worked with ice cream. Now, as a 2012 graduate who had worked at the UDairy Creamery since the summer after his sophomore year, Hunt has secured a job as the store manager at the Hopkins Farm Creamery in Lewes, Del.

Though he didn’t have any experience with ice cream specifically before coming to UD, Hunt did grow up with a dairy background. “My family always had a dairy, and my cousin was in the cheese business for a little bit and I would help him out,” said Hunt, explaining that this early exposure helped spark his interest in dairy foods.

Hunt, who majored in animal and food sciences with a minor in agriculture business marketing at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), got in on the ground floor with the UDairy Creamery, literally beginning work when the creamery was just “a garage with four freezers and some ice cream.”

Hired as the UDairy Creamery assistant manager, Hunt had to organize the creamery’s four-member management team, as well as manage external events and develop new business connections. As he describes it, he also served as UDairy Creamery Manager Melinda Litvinas’ “extra limb.”

“Jake became an integral part of the creamery during his two years as assistant manager,” Litvinas said. “He served as a leader for the creamery before, during and after the storefront opened, and his motivation and passion served as a key factor in the creamery’s success.”

Hunt’s favorite part about working at the creamery was interacting with students and administration at campus events. He also said that it was great to see the creamery rise from being the simple garage setup with four freezers to being a full-blown store.

He credits the time spent working at UDairy for helping prepare him for his current role at the Hopkins Farm Creamery. “I think from the overall general management standpoint, it helped me a lot. I’ve run into a lot of things here that I didn’t have the privilege of experiencing at UD but there it was a lot more event-centric and marketing-centric. Here it’s a lot more employee-centric, and employee management.”

With 28 employees to manage, most of whom are high school students, Hunt said that scheduling takes up a lot of his time but that every day is different. “The things that are always consistent are that if we’re short staffed, I’ll be in there scooping ice cream or if we’re running out of ice cream, I’ll be in there making ice cream. And that’s something that I’ve definitely appreciated,” said Hunt.

As for his relationship with the UDairy Creamery, Hunt said that during his third week on the job he reached out to Litvinas for some advice but that he hasn’t been able to reach out recently because of how busy both creameries have been.

Using essentially the same process as UDairy, the Hopkins Farm Creamery takes the milk from the 500 milking cows on their Green Acres Dairy Farm and sends it to Cloverland Dairy in Baltimore to be converted into ice cream base. Hopkins offers 24 flavors of ice cream that they have all the time, as well as two flavors of Italian ice, two flavors of sherbet and then two seasonal flavors during the summer and three seasonal flavors during the fall.

Hunt said that he likes all of Hopkins’ flavors, but if he had to pick, his favorite would be black raspberry. “I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and our black raspberry is awesome.”

For more information on Hopkins Farm Creamery, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Wilmington teens learn about environment via Green Jobs program

August 7, 2012 under CANR News

On a recent sunny morning, two shimmering blue dragonflies darted by the mauve blooms of Joe Pye weed in a newly created wetland on University of Delaware’s Newark Farm. It created the perfect teaching moment for Jenny McDermott, facilities and land manager for UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as she led a tour for teenagers participating in the city of Wilmington’s Green Jobs program.

“When we put this wetland in, some people were concerned that we’d have more mosquitoes in the chicken houses nearby but we actually have less of a problem. Can anyone tell me why?” asked McDermott.

“Dragonflies eat mosquitoes,” replied Elijah White, a 14-year-old who, in summer, lives with his mother in Wilmington and in Georgia during the school year. “We learned that from Mr. Jim White when we were at the DuPont Environmental Education Center.”

The eating habits of dragonflies is just the start of what White and nine other youth are discovering about the environment during this summer’s Green Jobs program. A partnership between the University of Delaware, the city of Wilmington and six other organizations, the six-week paid work experience exposes the students to a variety of environmental topics.

The teens discovered where their drinking water comes from during a visit to the city’s water treatment plant. They learned how to map GIS coordinates and the ways that scientists use geographic information systems at UD’s Water Resources Agency, a program unit of the Institute for Public Administration in the School of Public Policy and Administration. They removed invasive plants from the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge and found out why these species are harmful even if — as one student noticed – they sometimes have attractive flowers and foliage. They toured UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, where they kayaked and then splashed around in the water as they caught aquatic critters in seining nets.

“I loved the trip to Lewes; it was fun,” said Jonathan Tucker, a 17-year-old rising junior at Newark High School whose mother encouraged him to apply for the Green Jobs program. A self-confessed “indoor guy,” Tucker said he now has a better appreciation for the natural world around him. “Yeah, there’s something to be said for nature,” said Tucker. “I’m amazed at how much land there is at the Urban Wildlife Refuge, even though it’s in the city.”

“I really like technology and want to work in the technology field,” he added. “Now that I’m with Green Jobs, I’ve been thinking it would be cool to design hybrid cars that run on plant-based fuels.”

Regardless of whether Tucker works in the biofuels industry or ultimately chooses another career path, he is picking up useful job skills this summer, including public speaking and resume writing.

“Although Green Jobs is centered on the environmental field, we want to help the students develop skills they will need to work as professionals in any career field,” said Martha Corrozi Narvaez, associate policy scientist at UD’s Water Resources Agency and the mastermind behind the Green Jobs program.

Several new features have been added to Green Jobs, which is now in its second year. “One thing I’m really excited about is that each participant has been paired with a mentor this summer,” says Narvaez. “These experts will provide one-on-one guidance, training and insight into a variety of environmental careers. The hope is that many of these relationships are sustained so that if the teens have a career question next school year, they feel comfortable contacting their mentor by email or phone.”

The teens also have a mentor in program counselor Adib Rushdan. A 2006 UD grad, Rushdan was employed in the medical technology field for several years before recently completing a stint in Wilmington city schools with AmeriCorps. He said that he plans to earn his teaching certification. “I’m enjoying my work with the Green Jobs students,” said Rushdan. “They’re a good group of kids. Green Jobs is a valuable program; it exposes teens to many different things outside of their normal experiences.”

Such as a modern milking parlor – that’s not an everyday experience for most American teens. The UD parlor was empty when McDermott and the students walked through it – it was close to 11 a.m.; way past milking time. McDermott explained that corn and alfalfa are grown on 120 acres of cropland to feed the farm’s 100 dairy cows and that some of the milk is sold to a cooperative. “Chances are, if you drink milk and live in Delaware then you’ve had UD milk before,” said McDermott.

As for what happens to the rest of the milk supply, the Green Jobs students discovered the tasty answer to that question on the last stop on the tour – at the UDairy Creamery, which produces premium ice cream from milk from UD’s dairy cows.

Cherry vanilla? Chocolate marshmallow? Delaware River mud pie? Who knew that learning about the environment could be so sweet.

Article and photo by Margo McDonough

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UDairy Creamery serves its 100,000th cone

July 17, 2012 under CANR News

Colleen Seemans walked into the UDairy Creamery on Monday, July 16, looking for a cold cone of ice cream to help out with the oppressive heat. She walked away with a whole lot more.

Seemans was fortunate enough to purchase the Creamery’s 100,000th ice cream cone. As the individual responsible for getting the Creamery to its 100,000th ice cream cone sold in little over one year of operation, Seemans received 52 coupons for free ice cream, and a UDairy tote bag filled with a UDairy Creamery hat, shirt, plush cow and bumper stickers.

“I’m so surprised, I can’t even believe it,” said Seemans. “I was debating whether or not to come get an ice cream cone for myself and it’s my lucky day I guess.”

Seemans, who graduated from the University of Delaware in 1993 with a degree in exercise physiology and whose husband is an alum of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that she brings her family to the UDairy Creamery about 10 times during the summer and that her favorite flavor is the Delaware River Mud Pie.

Melinda Litvitnas, UDairy Creamery manager, said that the Creamery had wanted to do something special for the lucky patron who purchased the 100,000th cone.

“I was going through our item sales statistics and when I added up how many ice cream cone servings we had, it was at about 89,000 so I knew we were close.” Litvinas said that getting to 100,000 cones equals 143 tons of ice cream, or roughly the weight of 200 cows. Out of those scoops served by the UDairy Creamery, Litvinas noted that 7 percent of the patrons like sprinkles on their cones.

Litvinas also said that getting to 100,000 shows how great the community support has been for the Creamery during the past year.

“Without the support of the UD community and its alumni, we wouldn’t have been able to reach our milestone because other than marketing to the UD community, everything else has been word of mouth.”

Litvinas also marveled at how fast they reached this number. “Fourteen months ago we weren’t even open, and the fact that we’ve learned how to make ice cream and serve that many people in this amount of time is pretty awesome.”

As for plans for their 200,000th cone, Litvinas said, “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.”

For more information on the UDairy Creamery, visit its website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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UD’s dairy team works on producing milk, aiding research

June 28, 2012 under CANR News

National Dairy Month officially ends at midnight on July 1. Merely four and one-half hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, the University of Delaware Dairy staff will be right back where they’ve always been — hard at work milking the herd.

Cows are milked twice a day on the dairy farm, with a morning milking running from 4:30-7:30 a.m. and an afternoon milking taking place from 3:30-6 p.m.

Richard Morris, dairy manager, explained that the milking is done by one of the farm’s two full-time employees. Ron Gouge, farm assistant, usually handles the milking, working five days a week and milking every other weekend, while Mark Baker, farm assistant, is responsible for feeding the cows, cleaning the barns and helping out with maintenance.

Student workers also help out with the milking of the cows and when asked how the student employees have been about getting up at 4:30 in the morning, Morris is quick to say that they have been great.

“The past few years we’ve actually had pretty good luck of getting students that would do the morning milking,” said Morris. “Usually we would just do the morning milking ourselves, and then afternoons we would always have help, but I’d say the past two years we’ve had quite a few morning milkers.”

With the two milkings, the UD Dairy produces 85 pounds of milk per day, or between 9-10 gallons per cow, which is up significantly since Morris began working on the farm 26 years ago when the dairy produced around 6-7 gallons of milk per cow per day.

Once the milk is produced on the farm, it is put in a cooling tank, chilled at 38 degrees and then picked up every two days by Hy-Point Dairy.

Hy-Point then pasteurizes and homogenizes the milk to make it suitable for drinking, and some of it is sent back for use in the UD dining halls. Additional UD-produced milk is used in cafeterias at public schools in New Castle County.

Hy-Point also sends a portion of the milk it receives from the UD Dairy to Cumberland Farms in New Jersey, where it provides the base mix for the ice cream served at the UDairy Creamery.

Morris’ job also includes helping out UD faculty with their research, specifically the work being done by Limin Kung, professor, and Tanya Gressley, assistant professor, both in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“A lot of time and work is put into helping them do their research,” said Morris. “Usually when we’re assisting with their research, they have a graduate student assigned to that project, so we work a lot with the graduate student.”

Morris explained that helping with the research involves determining which cows the researchers will use, getting the research equipment set up and letting the researchers know what feed they need to use for the study.

Kung said that the dairy staff has been “successful in operating as a normal dairy farm and addressing the needs for research. On a day-to-day basis, Richard Morris, Ron Gouge and Mark Baker are an outstanding group of individuals that keep animal health and production at their best. Whether its 10 degrees or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, these individuals are constantly looking out for the animals.”

Kung also highlighted Scott Hopkins, farm superintendent, Charlie Willis, farm assistant, and Albert Nojunas, farm assistant, for playing key roles in producing forage for the dairy cows to eat.

Farm improvements

During his 26 years working on the UD farm, Morris has seen a lot of changes but perhaps none more so than in 2007 when the farm was upgraded with new equipment including a new milking parlor, a state-of-the-art manure processing barn which includes a 1.2 million gallon manure tank.

The milking parlor, which opened in 2008, has helped to cut the milking time in half, and provided better lighting, ventilation, and comfort for both the employees and the cows.

Gressley explained that one of the improvements to the parlor involves the cows wearing transponders around their necks in order for a computer to identify what particular cow is in which stall in the parlor. The computer can then record how much milk each cow produces, so the milk production is known for each individual cow during every milking.

“The big thing you can tell is who are your really good cows and who are your not so great cows,” said Gressley.

With regards to cow comfort, Gressley explained, “We have very comfortable stalls, and the reason we have very comfortable stalls is they are filled with sand, really the best option that’s out there. The cows really like that — it gives them mobility to get up and down, and it’s comfortable for them.”

The sand is also able to be recycled, thanks to the new manure processing system which separates the solid and liquid manure from the sand, allowing the sand to be re-used for the cow bedding, cutting down on costs.

As far as the manure improvements go, it has benefitted both the dairy and the UD farm in general. The solid manure produced on the farm is hauled away by a local farmer, while the liquid manure is stored and then applied to the UD cropland in a timely manner, providing most of the fertilizer necessary to grow crops.

The manure processing barn is also equipped with a 9.6 kilowatt solar panel system, 44 solar panels in all, which helps augment the electricity cost when the processing barn is being used, producing an estimated 11,000 kilowatt hours per year.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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