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University of Minnesota is second in National Collegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at World Dairy Expo

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 10/25/2013 12:56 PM

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MADISON, Wis. —The University of Minnesota placed second overall at the National Collegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest held Sept. 30 in conjunction with World Dairy Expo in Madison.

Nineteen four-year colleges competed for honors. Virginia Tech placed first, Oregon State was third, Ohio State, fourth, and Cornell, fifth.

The U of M team also placed second in oral reasons, first in Guernseys, first in Holsteins, second in Jerseys, fifth in Milking Shorthorns and fifth in Red and Whites.

Team members are Doug Petzel, of Arlington; Erin Daninger, of Forest Lake; Tyler Otte, of Randolph; and Jon Schmitt, of Rice.

Petzel was third overall, fifth in reasons and first in Holsteins. Daninger was fourth overall, first in reasons, second in Holsteins, second in Jerseys, second in Milking Shorthorns and third in Guernseys. Otte was 15th overall, sixth in Jerseys and ninth in Guernseys, and Schmitt was 10th in Guernseys.

Les Hansen, Scott Ellinghuysen, Alicia Thurk and Issac Salfer were coaches for the 2013 dairy cattle judging teams for the University of Minnesota.

Daninger, 21, has been dairy judging since she was 13. Her mother and aunts were involved in dairy judging and competed at World Dairy Expo.

"My mom judged here 30 years ago," she said.

Daninger said she and her teammates tried to stay relaxed.

"We picked out the best cows and then explained why we placed them the way we did," Daninger said. "We've judged over 100 classes of cows this fall. That's a lot of cows, a lot of reasons. We were prepared for judging."

Daninger's parents, Sharlene and Pat, have a 60-cow Holstein herd they rotationally graze at Forest Lake. They bottle and process their milk as Autumnwood Farm and sell to grocery stores and restaurants.

Before the Sept. 30 competition, the team practiced at seven farms in southeastern Minnesota.

"Practice makes perfect," Daninger said. "We saw some really good cattle on those farms."

Once he finished dairy judging, Petzel, 21, put on his work clothes and headed to the barn. The senior dairy science major helped at Ferme Jacobs Inc. of Cap-Sante, Quebec, throughout the event. He interned for Jacobs last summer.

Jabcobs' string includes 30 Holsteins, Red and Whites and Ayrshires.

Petzel's parents are Curt and Judy. His father and uncle milk 70 cows near Henderson. He owns about 15 head of registered Holsteins and Ayrshires.

"I did a little 4-H dairy judging, but I wasn't that good," Petzel said. "When I got to college, I pushed myself harder. Reasons were tough for me, but I pushed myself and practiced. Working at Jacobs all summer really helped because I saw some really good cattle."

The national contest was tough, but he felt confident with how he did.

"I was happy to win third overall, but I think I was even happier to win Holsteins because that's what I enjoy the most,'' he said.

Petzel said Hansen and all the coaches did a good job of preparing the team.

"They help us get our reasons as close to perfection as we can," he said.