If the 22 years Tom Shultz spent as dairy farm advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Tulare County had any one focus, it was increasing milk production by making cows more comfortable. Shultz retired Sept. 10.
Shultz' research showed that water misters in cow barns cool heat-stressed cows and increase both feed intake and cow performance. This practice has been adopted by more than 75 percent of local dairies where, according to Shultz' estimates, it results in $1 million each summer in improved milk production.
More recently, Shultz has found that oversized ceiling-mounted fans keep cows as cool as the more commonly used smaller wall-mounted fans.
“The fan's 10-foot-long blades make it look something like a helicopter rotor on the barn ceiling,” Shultz said. “It generates the same air movement as six traditional fans, but uses 85 percent less electricity — something particularly important considering California's energy crisis.”
A native of Pennsylvania, Shultz was raised on a dairy in Corning, Calif. He earned a bachelor's degree in animal science at California State University, Chico, and a master's degree in animal science at UC Davis. Graduation was followed by an 11-year stint in Venezuela, where he conducted applied nutrition research, taught animal nutrition, and worked directly with local dairy and beef ranchers.
After returning to the United States, Shultz completed a doctorate degree at Oregon State University. In 1979, he joined the UC Extension staff.