Pretty Cows at ASC

Holland with pretty cowWhat college in the United States has the prettiest "girls"? If the "girls" referred to are well-built, sleek, and shiny black-and-white cows, then the correct answer would be Alfred State College, a SUNY college of technology located in Western New York State. For the second year in a row, the Holstein dairy cows at Alfred State College have received the "pretty cow" designation by the Holstein Association.

Never heard of a cow beauty pageant?

Actually, the cows are evaluated by an impartial and certified Holstein Association official. The official scores each lactating female on 15 functional traits (how they look); seven of these traits are related to the cow's udder (their ability to produce milk). The highest score a cow can receive is 100, although a cow has never scored above a 97. A cow receiving a score of 90-100 points is classified as excellent; 85-89 points: very good; 80-84 points: good plus; 75-79 points: good; 65-74 points: fair; and 50-64 points: poor.

The Alfred State College dairy herd was most recently classified on May 20, 2008, and proudly reports that nine cows were classified as excellent; 36 cows were classified as very good; 13 were classified as good plus; and no cows scored lower.

Based on the classification score each animal receives, the Breed Age Average (BAA) is calculated for each animal. The BAA is a method to help Holstein breeders effectively compare the animals they have had classified. The BAA score adjusts the classification score based on the age and stage of lactation of each animal. The BAA of the average Holstein herd is 100. The Alfred State herd boasts a BAA of 108.7. Last year the herd's BAA was 107.9 ranking us 342 in the United States as well as ranking us as the highest college herd in the United States. This newest BAA of 108.7 will move the college herd up significantly in the rankings.

"This is quite a feather in Alfred State's cap, giving us visibility in the registered Holstein industry," said Peter Chatain, ASC farm manager. "And, because students do equate Alfred State with outstanding cows, we continue to attract students to our agriculture programs. The agriculture students in animal science and veterinary technology at the college are responsible for helping to feed, milk, and care for the cows. Students receive plenty of hands-on experience caring for everything from newborn calves to lactating cows. Students can also play a bigger role on the college farm by becoming interns. As interns, students live at the farm and spend an extra six-10 hours a week working on the farm. The students at Alfred State learn how to care for cows to keep them healthy and producing high quality milk.

Other Alfred State College dairy herd accolades include a Rolling Herd Average milk production of 27,506 pounds of milk per cow per year with 1008 pounds of butterfat and 850 pounds of protein. The herd is on 2X daily milking schedule and is being fed a 68% forage diet.

Alfred State College is a public college of approximately 3,300 undergraduates. It is located in the scenic Southern Tier of New York State between the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and the Finger Lakes region. Alfred State includes two campuses--one located in the village of Alfred, and the second located approximately 12 miles from Alfred in the village of Wellsville. Both campuses feature wireless Internet access. In addition to the two campuses, the College also includes an 800-acre college farm, a horticulture center, and a motorsports facility. Alfred State enables its students to hit the ground running®. Our students get a head start on their careers, as our programs and our teaching methods focus on providing intensive, hands-on, real-world learning.