Cows on the Lawn spacerspacerHeader graphic

Note: All images are thumbnails to larger photographs. Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures in greater detail.

Original Dairy Building
Original Dairy Building
(History of the Dairy Science Department by H. A. Herman and Rex Ricketts, 1988)

Production Record Sheet
Production Record Sheet
(Mo. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 26)

Dairy Chemistry Lab, Dairy Building, 1909
Dairy Chemistry Lab, Dairy Building, 1909
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)

Showribbon, 1953
Showribbon, 1953
(University Archives, C:3/22/10)

Dairy Cattle Barn, ca. 1920
Dairy Cattle Barn, ca. 1920
(University Archives, C:3/1/39)

Trophy won by Dairy Judging Team, 1913
Trophy won by Dairy
Judging Team, 1913
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)


Cows on the Lawn:

Dairy Husbandry at the University of Missouri, 1887-1930


Dairy cattle in front of the dairy building
Dairy Cattle in Front of the Dairy Building
(History of the Missouri College of Agriculture, AES Bulletin 483, by F. B. Mumford, 1944)



It took 8 years after the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862 to establish a College of Agriculture in Missouri. It took an additional 17 years to see the beginning of a University dairy herd. In 1887, Dean J. W. Sanborn (the second dean of agriculture, 1882-89) purchased 5 Jersey cows and a bull. A small frame building was converted to the first dairy building in 1890; Dean Edward E. Porter (dean of agriculture, 1889-95) fitted it with a separator, hot and cold water, churn and "butter worker." The first University publication concerning dairy issues was published in 1894 by the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, which had been established in 1888. MAES Bulletin 26 gave directions for the care of milk and the making of butter on the farm, and exhibited the different types of records that were being kept on the station's dairy herd, emphasizing the importance of ongoing record keeping.


Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 26
Missouri Agricultural College
Experiment Station Bulletin 26



A course in dairying was first offered in 1895-96. But it was not until the year 1901 that great strides were made in dairy education. The 41st General Assembly provided for the future of dairy husbandry in two ways: first, an appropriation of $40,000 was approved for the construction of "laboratories for livestock judging, dairy instruction, and veterinary science," and second, a law was enacted establishing a department of dairy husbandry in the College of Agriculture. The duties of the professor of dairy husbandry were set forth in the law, and $5,000 was appropriated for maintenance.


Professor Clarence H. Eckles
Professor Clarence H. Eckles, who held a master's degree from Iowa State College, was selected as head of the Dairy Husbandry Department in June 1901, and served in that capacity until 1919. Professor Arthur C. Ragsdale took over leadership of the department in 1919 and continued in that role until 1961. This photograph of Dr. Eckles was taken for the 1916-1917 academic year.
(University Archives, C:3/22/7 Box 2 FF 7)



Worldwide attention was brought to Missouri and the Department of Dairy Husbandry in 1910 by a record holding Holstein cow by the name of Missouri Chief Josephine. "Old Jo" as she was fondly known, produced 26,861.5 pounds of milk, containing 740 pounds of butterfat, in one year, which was the second best yearly record in the world. She held the world's record for 30, 60, and 90 days' milk production. An out-of-state student who visited the college was asked by Professor Eckles how he had come to hear about Eckles and the University of Missouri. He replied "I don't know much about you, but I do know about Missouri Chief Josephine and her world records. That's why I came here!"
(Herman and Ricketts, p.5)



Cow, Missouri Chief Josephine

Missouri Chief Josephine, "Old Jo," ca. 1910
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)





Cow, Carlotta Campus Girl
Carlotta Campus Girl (ca. 1915), a granddaughter of Missouri Chief Josephine, produced a record 15,725 pounds of milk in one year as a 2 year old.
(University Archives, C:3/1/39)




Short courses in dairying were established in 1901. These appealed to farmers because they were only 8 weeks in length and were offered during the slow time of the farming year when the farmers were less tied to the business of farming. In 1909 all short courses were consolidated into a 2-year winter course. The course for each winter included two terms of 7 weeks each. The first term opened around November 1 and closed before Christmas; the second term started after January 1 and continued through February.


Dairy Short Course Students with 'Old Jo,' ca. 1910-1911

Dairy Short Course Students with "Old Jo," ca. 1910-1911
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)




Buttermaking Short Course, ca. 1923

Buttermaking Short Course, ca. 1923
(University Archives, C:3/1/39)





Dairy Judging Short Course, ca. 1920

Dairy Judging Short Course, ca. 1920
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)





Ice Cream Making Short Course, ca. 1929

Ice Cream Making Short Course, ca. 1929
(University Archives, C:3/1/39)






The University of Missouri College of Agriculture has the distinction of having the first Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Team to attend a national contest. The contest was held in 1907 at the National Dairy Show in Chicago. No other teams appeared. The University of Missouri team members staged a competition among themselves and were declared the winners. Other teams, in succeeding years, followed suit in winning National Collegiate Contests. Those students selected for the Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Team gained valuable experience, and greatly benefited from meeting prominent breeders and industry leaders, along with being able to view exceptional dairy herds.

1909 Dairy Judging Team

1909 Dairy Judging Team
(University Archives, C:3/22/7)







Education and research have gone hand in hand in the Department of Dairy Husbandry. Early research at the Missouri Experiment Station resulted in discoveries that aided farmers in improving their dairy herds, increasing milk production, and enhancing the profitability of the dairy industry. A most important discovery was that the preferred cow for milk production is not the one with the best coefficient of digestion, but rather the cow that has the inherited capacity to consume large amounts of feed and use that feed above the maintenance requirement for milk production. As Professor Eckles often said, "the main thing a high producer inherits is a good appetite." (Herman and Ricketts, p. 6) Another classic study determined the levels of carotin in the milk fat and lactochrome in the whey. The results of the study formed the foundation for later research that revealed carotin as the provitamin A and lactochrome as vitamin G.


Poster, Why Butter Is White Poster, Why Butter Is Yellow
Posters, ca. 1913-1919
(University Archives, C:3/22/4)







Dairy husbandry at the University of Missouri made great strides in its first 40 years. It was aptly guided by Professor C. H. Eckles and Professor Arthur Ragsdale, and gained national recognition with its championship dairy cattle, notably world record holder Missouri Chief Josephine and her descendants. A variety of dairy courses were offered, along with opportunities for dairy judging and research. Many advancements in coursework, facilities, student activities and research have since taken place in what is now referred to as the Dairy Science Department, but all have been built on the solid foundation laid down in those early years of Dairy Husbandry.



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