MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center: Supporting Michigan’s Dynamic Dairy Industry
Location4075 N College Road
Lansing, MI 48910
The Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center is located on the university farms immediately south of the MSU campus along the west side of College Road between Forest and Jolly Roads.
You are welcome to take a self-guided tour during daylight hours. You may visit any of our animals that you can access from outside or with open doors, however, please do not enter any buildings if the doors are closed.
Farm Biosecurity Policy: Visitors cannot enter the farm if they have been outside of the country within the last 7 days.
A virtual tour aimed at elementary aged children can be accessed by clicking this link(~10 min in length): MSU DAIRY FARM VIRTUAL TOUR FOR ELEMENTARY CLASSES
About the Center
The Michigan State University dairy herd is maintained for teaching, extension, and research purposes. Learning experiences are provided for classes in both Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine. The facility frequently hosts extension programs in dairy management. Research projects are conducted in the areas of nutrition, mammary and reproductive physiology, animal breeding and selection, and dairy management. The Dairy is MAEAP verified in Livestock and Farmstead Systems.
The MSU Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center is comprised of multiple barns to accommodate animals of different ages and to facilitate different types of research. Housing includes from hutches for individual calves, bedded packs, group housing with free stalls, and individual tie stalls. Most cows on research are housed in tie stalls to control and measure feed intake. This is different than most commercial herds of this size, which are more commonly housed in free stalls. Individual stalls are necessary because cows must be accessible for use with classes and most research projects require individual feeding or treatments that would not be possible in group housing. Free stalls are used primarily for cows not involved in research.
Fermented feed is stored in bunker silos, and ag bags. A large number of these facilities are needed to accommodate the various research needs. Feeds stored include alfalfa haylage, corn silage, and high moisture corn. All silos and other bulk storage facilities are located in or near an enclosed diet preparation area.
Manure produced at the MSU dairy farm is utilized in the anaerobic digester located west of the farm. Manure and food waste is used to produce electricity that helps power campus.
The milking parlor consists of a double 7 herringbone parlor (14 stalls total) with automatic milk weight recording and automatic take off. Automatic cow identification is being used. Cows are milked three times per day at 5:00 am, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
Animal Inventory and Production
The MSU dairy herd consists of approximately 200 Holstein cows ranging from 2 to 12 years of age with an average cow age of 48 months. In addition, replacement females are raised from birth to 8 months of age at the facility, then they go to another MSU farm, Kellogg Biological Station, from 8 m - 22 m. About 2 months before giving birth for the fist time, the heifers are brought back to the campus dairy. The herd is registered with the Holstein Association. Unless needed for research, all male calves are sold to other farms. All milk is sold through Michigan Milk Producers Association, a milk-handling cooperative.
All females are artificially inseminated (AI). Selection is to improve yield of milk, fat and protein and to sustain physical conformation and reproductive performance. Heifers are inseminated at estrus after 12 months and reaching a height of 52 inches. Cows are inseminated after 80 days postpartum. Calves are born at all times of the year.
Most animals receive a total mixed ration (TMR) based on their nutritional requirements for growth, production, and stage of lactation:
- FORAGES: Primarily alfalfa haylage and corn silage with some baled alfalfa hay
- GRAINS: High moisture shelled corn, dry shelled corn and soybean meal
- OTHER: Cottonseed, fat-tallow, energy sources, vitamins and minerals
The Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center employs students each semester who complete much of the day-to-day animal care and are offered hand-on learning. Students are given opportunities in the areas of general stockmanship, calf feeding and care, cow care and milking, equipment utilization and upkeep.
Students interested in working at the dairy farm are encouraged to contact Jim Good.
Banner photo courtesy of Communications and Brand Strategy.