CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Facing budget pressure after a manure spill that reached a creek, the Dairy Center at Oregon State University has sold its milking cows, 120 of them, and doesn't expect to resume production until the middle of next year.
The sales, which started in the summer, have raised $135,000, the Corvallis Gazette Times (http://bit.ly/UP9RHO ) reported Thursday. The animals went to dairies in Washington state and British Columbia.
The operation on 180 acres 1.5 miles west of the campus is expected to begin rebuilding a herd and milking some cows next year, said John Killefer, head of the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences
In the meantime, the dairy is undergoing structural changes expected to cost $250,000 to $300,000.
"In order to be effective in making the corrections we need at the dairy, we decided it would be best to not be milking cows at the same time," Killefer said.
In April, a mechanical failure caused a break in an irrigation pipe used to spray water and manure onto fields that grow feed for the dairy cows.
Liquefied manure spilled into nearby Oak Creek for more than two hours. City officials couldn't estimate the volume but said the municipal water supply wouldn't be affected. The State Agriculture Department, which regulates dairies, issued a citation.
The operation still has about 130 head of cattle, but none are milk cows.
The dairy is a multi-purpose facility that serves programs outside of the animal and rangeland science department, including the college of veterinary medicine and courses from Linn-Benton Community College. It is managed by three full-time employees and a group of students.
The Horse Center has seen similar changes caused by budget pressure, Killefer said, with horse numbers cut nearly in half, to about 20, to reduce maintenance costs. The animals were sold at auction.
The department itself was reorganized this year, with animal sciences merged into rangeland ecology and management.
Information from: Gazette-Times, http://www.gtconnect.com