North Dakota State University unveils new Beef Cattle Research Complex | TSLN.com

North Dakota State University unveils new Beef Cattle Research Complex

Alaina Mousel, Editor

On Wednesday, June 29, North Dakota State University (NDSU) unveiled their new Beef Cattle Research Complex. Located on the west side of I-29 and 19th Ave. North in Fargo, the facility consists of a feeding area, cattle handling system, calving pens, feed mixing facility and offices. The facility can accommodate up to 192 head of cattle.

The feeding area is housed in a monoslope barn with open-run dirt pens. To allow air movement through the facility, a Norbco curtain on the north side of the building can be rolled up in summer months and buttoned down in the winter. Lardy said quite a bit of fill dirt was needed in the cattle pens to create enough of a grade for water to move out of pens. To the south of the facility are a few acres set aside for a water spreading area, settling basin and an evaporation pond.

Insentec BV computerized bunk feeders within the feeding area are designed to measure individual consumption by research animals. The system works by identifying which animals come to the feeder, allowing access by using the animal’s radio frequency identification as the identifying trigger. With this technology, researchers are able to monitor individual animal feed efficiency, with data continually being fed into the facility manager’s computer.

“It gives us more capability from a research standpoint,” said Greg Lardy, NDSU Animal Science Department Head. “We know when cattle ate, and how much at each meal. We can also use it to control or limit intake of certain diets if that is what the protocol requires.”

There are only four facilities in North America that have Insentec technology, Lardy said, and NDSU is the only Land Grant University which has the equipment installed.

Feed efficiency research stems from using this new technology. “With $7 corn and high prices for corn byproducts, (feed) efficiency has become a lot more important,” Lardy noted. An area of interest to NDSU researchers is exploring forage feed efficiency with cows, as North Dakota’s largest animal industry is cow-calf production, with a small cattle feeding sector. “This technology will allow us to make some huge strides in this area,” he said.

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Most facilities with the ability to measure individual intake data, Lardy noted, are feedlot based. The NDSU system is designed to be used by multiple classes of cattle – cow-calf, feeder calves and fed cattle.

Another area of the complex is the cattle handling facility, which is completely covered and located adjacent to the feeding area. Within this part of the facility are 10-12 maternity pens, a heating system, concrete flooring, remote-controlled turret gates to move cattle through the pens and a hydraulic Silencer Chute from Moly Manufacturing. The chute features suspended weigh load cells. D and D Manufacturing from McLeod, ND, worked closely with researchers to develop the system of gates and pens.

Separate from the feeding and cattle handling area is the feed storage and handling building, which is designed to be used by a skid steer loader. Half the building is heated to manage the four liquid feed storage tanks and feed mixing area, the remainder of the building is not heated for storing bulk feed.

The feed area is designed to keep dust to a minimum, with exhaust fans and sliding doors helping to draw out and contain particles.

On Wednesday, June 29, North Dakota State University (NDSU) unveiled their new Beef Cattle Research Complex. Located on the west side of I-29 and 19th Ave. North in Fargo, the facility consists of a feeding area, cattle handling system, calving pens, feed mixing facility and offices. The facility can accommodate up to 192 head of cattle.

The feeding area is housed in a monoslope barn with open-run dirt pens. To allow air movement through the facility, a Norbco curtain on the north side of the building can be rolled up in summer months and buttoned down in the winter. Lardy said quite a bit of fill dirt was needed in the cattle pens to create enough of a grade for water to move out of pens. To the south of the facility are a few acres set aside for a water spreading area, settling basin and an evaporation pond.

Insentec BV computerized bunk feeders within the feeding area are designed to measure individual consumption by research animals. The system works by identifying which animals come to the feeder, allowing access by using the animal’s radio frequency identification as the identifying trigger. With this technology, researchers are able to monitor individual animal feed efficiency, with data continually being fed into the facility manager’s computer.

“It gives us more capability from a research standpoint,” said Greg Lardy, NDSU Animal Science Department Head. “We know when cattle ate, and how much at each meal. We can also use it to control or limit intake of certain diets if that is what the protocol requires.”

There are only four facilities in North America that have Insentec technology, Lardy said, and NDSU is the only Land Grant University which has the equipment installed.

Feed efficiency research stems from using this new technology. “With $7 corn and high prices for corn byproducts, (feed) efficiency has become a lot more important,” Lardy noted. An area of interest to NDSU researchers is exploring forage feed efficiency with cows, as North Dakota’s largest animal industry is cow-calf production, with a small cattle feeding sector. “This technology will allow us to make some huge strides in this area,” he said.

Most facilities with the ability to measure individual intake data, Lardy noted, are feedlot based. The NDSU system is designed to be used by multiple classes of cattle – cow-calf, feeder calves and fed cattle.

Another area of the complex is the cattle handling facility, which is completely covered and located adjacent to the feeding area. Within this part of the facility are 10-12 maternity pens, a heating system, concrete flooring, remote-controlled turret gates to move cattle through the pens and a hydraulic Silencer Chute from Moly Manufacturing. The chute features suspended weigh load cells. D and D Manufacturing from McLeod, ND, worked closely with researchers to develop the system of gates and pens.

Separate from the feeding and cattle handling area is the feed storage and handling building, which is designed to be used by a skid steer loader. Half the building is heated to manage the four liquid feed storage tanks and feed mixing area, the remainder of the building is not heated for storing bulk feed.

The feed area is designed to keep dust to a minimum, with exhaust fans and sliding doors helping to draw out and contain particles.

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