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MSU Dairy Club hosts successful 15th annual Spartan Spectacular Calf Sale

April 22, 2014 | 0 comments


Members of the Michigan State University (MSU) Dairy Club and dairy judging program hosted its 15th annual Spartan Spectacular Calf Sale March 21 at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education in East Lansing. The lineup of 24 heifers representing the Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Jersey, Holstein and Red and White dairy cattle breeds averaged $1,720.

The high-selling lot at $3,800 was Milhurd Contnder Fantly-Red, a Red and White summer yearling sired by Patience Showline Contender and originating from the Rudolph Missy family. Fantly was consigned by Alan Miller, Ithaca and purchased by Beekman Holsteins, Huntington, IN.

The second high-selling lot at $3,600 was Ri-Val-Re 45 Apple-P-Red-ET consigned by Aaron Jorgenson, Webberville. This polled Red and White born in January 2014 is sired by Colt 45 and traces back three generations to the 2010 world champion KHW Regiment Apple-Red. She was purchased by Bethany VanPolen, Marion.

Selling for $3,000 and the third highest-selling heifer of the sale was SJ-Reed Dusk Saffron-ET consigned by Steve Reed, Owosso. Saffron was purchased by Tim Baker, Byron Center. She is sired by Scientific SS Dusk and from the two-time grand champion of the Michigan Red and White Show, Ri-Val-Re Adv Sushi-Red.

A partnership with the annual Michigan Holstein Association-sponsored Spring Foundation Sale draws a pool of potential buyers to the calf sale and offers students an opportunity to work with professional sale managers and auctioneers.

Dairy judging team and club members help the state sale crew water and milk the consignments from the time the animals arrive several days before the sale up through sale day in exchange for the money earned from selling the milk. Proceeds from the annual sale and related activities are divided equally between the MSU Dairy Club and the MSU Dairy Cattle Judging Program to support their respective activities.

The Spartan Spectacular Calf Sale is much more than a fundraising project, however. MSU students take the lead on the team effort of organizing all aspects of the annual sale, from selecting consignments to collecting information to promote the sale, being on-site to prepare, bed, feed and care for the animals, parading the animals in the auction ring, and collecting checks from the buyers.

Dr. Joe Domecq, MSU animal science specialist, coordinator of the dairy judging program and one of the club's sale advisors, explained that preparing for the sale ties in all aspects of raising dairy cattle, from nutrition to breaking an animal to lead to selecting an animal on the basis of conformation and pedigree. It also serves as an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom and through involvement in professional clubs to a real-life setting.

"It's true that students develop a practical understanding of what's involved in managing a sale from start to finish, but the experience offers more than that," he said. "It's a unique hands-on opportunity for students to build leadership skills, engage in a team-oriented project and learn from industry professionals. It also fosters networking with dairy producers and industry colleagues, some of whom may be future employers."

The chairpersons for this year's Spartan Spectacular Calf Sale were: Megan Bush, an MSU agribusiness management junior from Swartz Creek; Malissa Reed, an MSU animal science junior from Owosso; and Britney Zondlak, an MSU agribusiness management senior from Byron Center. Barn managers were MSU animal science juniors Garrett Slavik, of Ashley, and Carmen Zwemmer, of Elkton.

Sponsors for the 2014 Spartan Spectacular Calf Sale were: Amber Black, Cole's Apple Dairy, DeSaegher Dairy, Donacres Dairy, Gingell Feed Consultants, Highland Dairy, Kay and Jay Dairy, Leslie Farms, the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center, Michigan Sugar Company, Reed Dairy Farm and Williams Farm Machinery.

For more information about the MSU Dairy Club or the Michigan dairy cattle judging program, contact Domecq at 517-353-7855 or domecqjo@msu.edu.

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