The Dairy and Food Science department has strong dairy cattle and dairy products judging programs as a part of the curriculum. The department also has a long history of participating in the dairy cattle and dairy products evaluation contests. Dairy Science students competed in the very first contest in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1916 and have since competed in almost every national contests in both cattle and products. Over the years they have won 17 National Championships (1919, 66, 68, 69, 74, 76, 78, 79, 83, 89, 91, 96, 98, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015) and numerous regional contests.
Dairy cattle judging is taught through the Dairy Cattle Evaluation course, DS 311, and Dairy products judging through the Dairy Products Judging course, DS 202. All Dairy Science students are required to take the DS 202 and Dairy Production students are required to take DS 312. Qualified students may compete in regional and national contests.
Dairy Cattle Judging
The purpose of dairy cattle judging is to develop decision making and communication skills, while visiting some of our best Midwest dairy farms. Teams for competing consist of 6 students and practice from mid-August to early October. The students compete in at least two contests each fall, including at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. In 2003 the dairy science students were introduced to a new evaluation contest, called the Dairy Challenge contest. At this contest students are presented detailed information about a working dairy, including production and farm-management data. They are expected to conduct a thorough analysis and present recommendations to a panel of judges. This contest provides an excellent opportunity to apply theoretical dairy science knowledge in a practical manner.
Dairy Products Judging
The purpose of products evaluation is to learn how to taste and/or smell flavors and evaluate texture of products. This knowledge is important for making processing decisions and maintaining quality. The Dairy Products Evaluation Team competes in two contests with other universities every fall. The Midwest Regional Contest is held at Kraft Foods in Glenview, Illinois and the National Contest is held at various locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The team has an excellent reputation for its placings. Many SDSU dairy science graduates serve as official judges for the contests. The competing team typically consists of 3 to 4 students and is open to all SDSU undergraduate students who participate and are selected from the Dairy Products Judging (DS 202) course which is taught every spring. Eight samples of six different commodities are evaluated by students – milk, cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, vanilla ice cream, strawberry yogurt, and butter. Products are ranked according to flavor, body, texture, and appearance. Awards are based on how well students match their interpretations of product quality with the official judges. The Dairy Products Evaluation Contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the American Dairy Science Association. The top two students in all products at the National Contest and the coach are invited to participate in the national conference of the Quality Chekd Dairy Products Association conference the following year. The top Cheddar cheese judge and the coach are invited to serve as guest judges at the World Cheese Contest in Wisconsin.