Theodore J. Halbach (Ted)

Distinguished Faculty Instructor - Dairy Management




Office Location

1675 Observatory Dr
283 Animal Sciences
Madison, WI 53706

Ted Halbach is a distinguished faculty instructor of dairy management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Animal & Dairy Sciences. He obtained his BS ‘80 and MS ’85 degrees from the University of Arizona. After managing a 500-cow commercial dairy operation in southern Arizona and serving on the Board of Directors of the Holstein Association USA, Halbach became UW’s Extension Dairy Youth Specialist in 1998. After serving as the Director of the College’s Farm and Industry Short Course for four years, he returned to an instructional role with the department in 2012. During his tenure, Halbach has provided leadership in recruiting, advising, mentoring, classroom instruction, and coaching of Intercollegiate dairy judging and Dairy Challenge teams. Teams under his guidance have enjoyed competitive success. In dairy judging his squads won three national championships and had twelve top-five finishes in his thirteen years as coach. More recently, Halbach coached UW-Madison’s Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge teams to three first-place and three second place finishes at the last six national contests. A strong advocate for student participation in Dairy Challenge, Halbach developed a campus level event and oversaw UW’s role as the host school for a pair of Midwest regional competitions and the 2022 National Dairy Challenge Contest held in Green Bay, WI.

In his Extension role Halbach serves as a species expert for dairy in the area of evaluating functional conformation of dairy cattle. Key programs that he supports are the Wisconsin 4-H Area Animal Science Days and State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest as well as the State FFA Career Development Event for Dairy Evaluation and Dairy Showmanship. Earlier in his career, he played a key role in implementing youth programs and developing 4-H resources, while offering workshops, presentations, and activities such as Badger Dairy Camp.

Halbach is a qualified dairy judge with inclusion on Holstein Association USA’s Qualified Judges List, the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association of the USA Approved Judges List and the America Guernsey Association’s Approved Judges List.

Book Chapters

Weigel, K.A., Halbach, T.J. 2016. Making Effective Sire Selection and Corrective Mating Decisions. Large Dairy Herd Management, 3rd Ed.

Popular Press Articles

Halbach, T.J. Analyzing the Udder. Pp. 180. Hoard’s Dairyman. 10 March, 2014.

Halbach, T.J. Dairy Strength. Pp. 134. Hoard’s Dairyman. 25 February, 2014.

Halbach, T.J. Analyzing the Rear Feet and Legs. Pp. 98. Hoard’s Dairyman. 10 February, 2014.

Halbach, T.J. Analyzing the Frame. Pp. 60. Hoard’s Dairyman. 25 January, 2014.

Halbach, T.J. Learning Linear Evaluation. Pp. 28. Hoard’s Dairyman. 10 January, 2014.

Halbach, T.J. PDCA Unveils New Dairy Cow Scorecard. Pp. 500. Hoard’s Dairyman. 10 August, 2009.

Halbach, T.J., Goodwin, J.L. The Rules Are Black and White – And They Apply To All Breeds. Hoard’s Dairyman insert. 10 June, 2003.


National Purebred Dairy Cattle Association’s (PDCA) Dairy Showmanship Scorecard Videos. Co-produced a four-part video series with the Holstein Foundation that demonstrates dairy showmanship procedures and fundamentals based on the revised PDCA Showmanship Guidelines. 2017. All of these resources are available on the Holstein Foundation website at no charge.

Showring Ready: What to Wear & How to Act
Showring Ready: Appearance of Your Animal and Proper Equipment
Showring Ready: Entering the Showring and On Parade
Showring Ready: Entering the Line & Posing Your Animal

Other Publications

Learning Linear – 24-page, in-depth book centered on the Young Dairymen linear series. Hoard’s Dairyman Publications. 2014. Includes 90-plus color photos, a full-page body parts diagram, two linear scoring worksheets, non-linear traits and the PDCA scorecard.

Dairy Cattle Judging Made Easy – Interactive CD-ROM. 2004, 2011. Developed in conjunction with Babcock Institute as a resource for judging teams. Outlines basics of dairy cattle evaluation and presenting oral reasons. A Spanish language version also developed.


Undergraduate Courses

DY SCI 205 – Dairy Cattle Improvement Programs (2 credits, Spring)
Course Description: Dairy cattle evaluation and selection, including: linear type appraisal, dairy cattle judging, mating programs, breed comparisons, cattle marketing plans, and national genetic improvement programs.
Requirements: AN SCI/DY SCI 101. Open to Freshmen

DY SCI 233 – Dairy Herd Management I (3 credits, Fall)
Course Description: Overview of practical dairy herd management with components of reproduction, nutrition, milk quality, raising dairy replacements, facilities and records. Laboratories emphasize practical applications, analyses of alternatives and decision-making.  Includes farm visits and analysis.
Requirements: AN SCI/DY SCI 101 or consent of instructor, Sophomore or Junior standing.

DY SCI 234 – Dairy Herd Management II (3 credits, Spring)
Course Description: Second of a two course sequence designed as an overview of practical dairy herd management with components of animal welfare and handling, health, nutrient management, facilities and production economics. Laboratories emphasize practical applications, investigation of alternatives and decision-making.  Includes farm visits and a hands-on transition cow project for analysis.
Requirements: AN SCI/DY SCI 101 or cons instructor, successful completion of DY SCI 233.

DY SCI 375 – Dairy Nutrition Experience (1 credit, Winter intersession; January)
Course Description: Participation in team based dairy farm diagnostics, Leading Producer Conference attendance and applied dairy nutrition workshops hosted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center.
Requirements: DY SCI 233 and consent of instructor

DY SCI 375 – Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge Competitions (1 credit, Spring)
Course Description: Provides students in the Dairy Science major with mentored, hands-on experiences that have real-world application.  Students will analyze dairy farm management systems and apply benchmarks to make recommendations.
Requirements:  DY SCI 233 & 234, Junior or Senior standing

DY SCI 535 – Dairy Farm Management Practicum (3 credits, Fall)
Course Description: Principles of nutrition, breeding, reproduction, and management at the farm level are integrated. Students will develop skills in decision making, information gathering, problem solving, and interpersonal communication through fieldtrips to working commercial dairy operations.
Requirements:  DY SCI 233, 434, 361

Animal & Dairy Sciences External Relation Committee
Animal & Dairy Sciences Recruitment Committee
Animal & Dairy Sciences Scholarship Committee
Animal & Dairy Sciences Golf Classic Planning Committee Co-chair
Animal & Dairy Sciences Herd Management and Use Committee and Ad Hoc Genetic Selection Committee
Collegiate Farm Bureau Student Organization Campus Advisor
James W. Crowley Dairy Management and Extension Fund Committee
North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge Board of Directors
National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Management Committee
Wisconsin Holstein Association Scholarship Committee
National Dairy Shrine Charles & Judy Iager Scholarship Committee

Video Program Award – Wisconsin Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development

Professionals for the video “The Rules Are Black and White – And They Apply To All Breeds” (2003)

National Communicator Award – National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (2003)

McDonald Award for Teaching Excellence in Short Course – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2005)

Honorary State FFA Degree –Wisconsin Association of FFA (2006)

Academic Staff Excellence in Service Award – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2008)

Friend of AWA Award – Association of Women in Agriculture (2012)

Hoard’s Dairyman Youth Development Award – American Dairy Science Association (2019)

Arthur J. and Ellen A. Maurer Extra Mile Award – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2021)

Distinguished Prefix – University of Wisconsin – Madison (2022)

Friend of BDC Award – Badger Dairy Club (2023)

WALSAA Outstanding Advisor Award – College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2023)

Distinguished Service Award – Wisconsin Association of FFA (2023)