Catching Up with CALS — Sept. 22, 2021
Dean's Message — Carl's Legacy
The annual Steer-A-Year Donor Appreciation Event brought together Idaho’s cattle producers and the industry’s supporters who collectively participate in one of CALS’ most innovative funding programs.
Steer-A-Year (SAY) relies on donated cattle to educate students. The proceeds from the sale of the donated cattle fund cattle research, Idaho Cattle Association scholarships for students and a scholarship fund for Vandal athletes.
This year’s banquet Saturday in Kuna drew many familiar faces, and many of those participating shared memories of CALS’ animal and veterinary science department head professor emeritus Carl Hunt, who died Sept. 6.
Despite the sense of loss, many of Carl’s friends and supporters remembered his sense of humor, his kindness and his generosity when he interacted with cattle producers and students. He worked closely with the Idaho Cattle Association to create the Student Idaho Cattle Association on campus.
Through his three decades of work on the AVS faculty and with the SAY program, Carl helped raise more than $1 million.
During its 33 years, SAY gathered nearly 1,800 head from cattle producers and donors who sponsored a steer. The animals offered students real-life experience in caring for livestock from vaccinations and monitoring their health to feeding practices and final carcass evaluation.
Students earned paychecks mixing rations and feeding the cattle, then tracked the results when the animals were marketed or harvested for meat science classes. Hundreds of steers through the years were processed and sold through Vandal Brand Meats.
As he prepared to retire 10 years ago, Carl and his wife, physician Dr. Martha Hunt, created the Hunt Family Beef Education and Research Endowment to continue his legacy of support for students and the cattle industry.
In the decade since, contributions from the family and Carl’s friends and supporters continued to expand the endowment and its ability to carry on his efforts.
Steer-A-Year now operates under the leadership of Kayleen Oliver, who two years ago became beef feedlot manager for CALS and had the opportunity to work with Carl. Friday’s banquet showed SAY is in capable hands.
A memorial service is planned for Carl Saturday, Sept. 25, at Moscow’s Church of the Nazarene at 1400 E. Seventh St. A reception will follow at 5 p.m. at the Palouse Ice Rink at the Latah County Fairgrounds.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
34% of winter wheat planted meant Idaho’s farmers made good progress with fall work through Sept. 19. That’s more than twice the 16% planted as of the week before, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last year the winter wheat crop was 20% planted at the same time and the 5-year average was 25%. The potato harvest inched along, hitting 19%, and the sugar beet harvest hit 14%. 60% of the onion crop is in, up 50% from the previous week. It is also ahead of the 38% reported by late September last year and the 5-year average of 48%.
Our Stories — CAFE Milk Parlor Marks a Milestone
The U of I-led project to create the largest research dairy in the U.S. made a significant advance recently with the selection of a rotary milking parlor.
The choice of a rotary parlor for the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment dairy reflects the most common system used by modern dairies, U of I Agricultural Experiment Station Director Mark McGuire said.
“It’s pretty clear that a rotary parlor is economically beneficial for a dairy the size of ours compared to other options,” said McGuire. He also serves as CALS associate dean and is an animal scientist focused on dairy.
The DeLaval rotary chosen will accommodate 60 cows and offers the most economical and rapid milking system widely used by the industry. Robotic systems will clean udders before cows enter the rotary and treat udders as the cows leave the parlor.
TDS or Total Dairy Solutions, which maintains a base in Jerome, will manage the installation of the rotary in concert with design and engineering firms Keller and Associates and AgProfessionals. McAlvain Companies of Boise will oversee the construction of the dairy, which is scheduled for completion in 2023.
The milking parlor’s selection represented the most influential decision the U of I researchers and contract engineering and design professionals will use to organize the rest of the project.
At just shy of $2 million, the parlor and milk handling system is the keystone to the overarching design for handling pens, resting areas, feed facilities and other essential components of the $20 million project.
Beyond overall operation of what will become a 2,000-cow dairy, the rotary parlor also offers the ability to milk various sized lots of cows involved in research studies. The need for complex handling systems and other logistics sets the CAFE dairy apart from commercial dairy design and construction.
The new dairy’s role as a research and education hub influenced the TDS-DeLaval participation in the project. They will donate a discount of $545,000 off the purchase price of the rotary and a $10,000 scholarship for a U of I student.
The new research dairy will provide more animals to conduct comprehensive research on animal care, dairy nutrition and milk quality than any other research nationally.
The dairy will include facilities for educating students from high school through graduate school. It will provide a base for educational programs for dairy and cattle producers through University of Idaho Extension.
The U of I partnered with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association in 2019 to purchase a 540-acre parcel near Rupert for the research dairy and an associated soil health demonstration farm.
The crops grown will supply the dairy with grains and hay to feed the cows following regenerative farming practices. Dairies often grow other crops including potatoes and sugar beets as part of rotational agriculture to reduce plant disease impacts.
Soil sampling began in 2019 to establish a baseline understanding of soil properties before application of dairy nutrients. A sophisticated, high-tech monitoring system is planned to make tracking nutrients and other soil qualities one of the most sophisticated anywhere.
Planned work will also modify the conventional center-pivot irrigation system to test new methods of supplying water and allow researchers to modify its use for experimental plots.
The design and engineering work on the project began in 2020. McGuire said he expects the dairy will begin the first cows in 2024 and the herd will grow to the target 2,000 animals over several years.
Faces and Places
Avelardo Vargas, an animal, veterinary and food sciences department undergraduate student, will receive the $2,000 2021-22 Idaho Milk Processors Association (IMPA) scholarship.
- Sept. 24 — CALS Alumni Awards luncheon. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for others. Sixth and Rayburn streets outside the E.J. Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT
- Sept. 25 — CALS Days prospective student activities begin at 10 a.m. PDT
- Oct. 20 — " Identifying Apples: A Multifaceted Approach," Heritage Orchard Conference, 10-11:30 a.m. PDT
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