New ISU Dairy Farm improve efficiency

Sarah Thiele

Iowa State’s Dairy Farm is back in Ames with a new facility that will provide students with new learning opportunities at a convenient location.

The new Dairy Farm opened Saturday, although the bovine population will be moving to the new location in mid-November. The farm is located 3 miles south of campus on an 887-acre site. The building itself sits on 27 acres.

The Dairy Farm previously had sites located in Ames and Ankeny. The $14.7 million project was funded through the sale of the old dairy farm located in Ankeny.

Howard Tyler, associate professor of animal science, said the new facility was needed to replace the outdated previous facilities.

“We had two previous facilities, both of which were badly outdated. The facility in Ankeny dated back over 50 years,” Tyler said. “The facility that was in Ames that was closed several years ago dated back to originally 1856, although there were some additions [made] in the 1930s.”

Tyler also said the new dairy farm will primarily be used as a teaching and research facility.

“It’s a much better environment for training students. Now we can do teaching and research and extension activities all at the same facility,” Tyler said.

Joe Detrick, farm manager and ag specialist in animal science, said the new facility will have eight full-time employees and will continue to employ students. The facility has the capability to milk 450 cows and will house around 1,000. The facility will have many new features including a milking parlor, public viewing area and classrooms.

Tyler said milk from the Dairy Farm is sold to Swiss Valley Farms and provides operating funds for the farm to continue to operate.

Maynard Hogberg, professor and chairman of animal science, said the new farm will make projects more efficient.

“This will make our teaching and research programs much more efficient because we can utilize the cows more efficiently as well as the labor,” he said.

Hogberg also said the facility will have several features that will improve research.

“We have the ability to feed and measure the feed intake of each individual animal. We have the opportunity to do more calf research. We’ll have an outstanding facility set up for that,” Hauberk said. “We will be able to add a whole new dimension to the issue of environmental management.”

Lorilee Schultz, president of the ISU Dairy Science Club and senior in agricultural business, said the new farm will be beneficial to students in many ways.

“It will be nice to have the Dairy [Farm] back here in Ames. A lot of students work at the Dairy [Farm], so they’re able to have a job that’s relevant to their education where they can go and earn money for school and get some hands on experience while they’re doing it,” she said.

Schultz also said students will be able to participate in more research projects.

“The new Dairy [Farm] will have a lot of opportunities for students to participate in research trials with professors on campus. I know they’re really excited about the research capabilities of the new facility, and I think it will allow more opportunities for students,” Schultz said.