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What is the West Central Research and Outreach Center?


University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center is a center whose goal is to disseminate knowledge and information, focusing on west central Minnesota. Orginally an agricultural experiment station, research has expanded to include studies of environmental quality and renewable energy. From an article in AgriNews, Brad Heins is new dairy scientist at WCROC

The center has 110 cows in a conventional grazing system and another 90 in organics. Besides Holsteins, the center has been crossbreeding cattle with Jerseys, Swedish Reds, Norwegian Reds, Mont Beliards and Normandes. One reason the Normandes are part of the breeding program is the high percentage of BB Capa Casein found in their milk. The BB is beneficial for cheese production, he said. Heins envisions the center one day having an a small cheese plant.

Of note are is a late calf weaning project, where a group of calves are weaned at 90 days in an organic system.

Since there aren't any organic milk replacers, they are monitoring the effectiveness of late weaning vs. early weaning.

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