UConn’s Kellogg Dairy Center (KDC) is recognized as the 2023 Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farm for New England Green Pastures. The facility sits atop horsebarn hill in Storrs, looking out over the rolling fields. Within the barn, and the cattle resource unit down the road, are award-winning cattle and a nationally recognized university dairy program. They are moving forward to the New England competition, held at the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) in September.
The KDC was built in 1991 and is a free-stall facility for 100 milking cows with an attached classroom, office, viewing rooms, surgical unit, and two student dorm rooms. UConn added Voluntary Milking Systems (VMS or robotic milking systems) in 2018 and was the first university in the country to install the technology. Robotic feeders were added at the same time, each cow wears a transponder that collects data. This data is shared with DeLaval to help other dairy farms worldwide manage their data and economic viability.
The dairy herds have a rolling herd average of 29,300 lbs. for the Holsteins and 21,200 lbs. for the Jerseys, making them a top 10 production herd in the United States for their herd size. UConn has received the Hoard’s Dairyman National Dairy Quality Gold Award in 2017 for being one of the best dairy farms in the country, out of over 47,000. The University of Wisconsin is the only other dairy herd that’s made the list. UConn is also perennial winners for quality milk from Agri-Mark/Cabot, the milk cooperative that UConn works with. The Holstein Association has recognized the herd for the last 18 years with their Progressive Breeder Award. The high-quality milk is the basis of the ice cream and cheese the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) sells, and it also wins regional and national awards.
Mary-Margaret Smith is the Executive Director for all the UConn Livestock Units, including the Kellogg Dairy Center, and leads a team of 11 professional staff as well as student workers. “Cow comfort is the number one priority. It has to be. And for them to make as much milk as possible but be healthy while doing so. The cleanliness of the milking system is also paramount.”
UConn’s Kellogg Dairy Center is part of the Department of Animal Science in CAHNR. The Outstanding Dairy Farm Award is facilitated by UConn Extension and the Green Pastures committee each year, with past winners serving on the committee.
Article: UConn Extension