Animal Science Departmental Report
It can be viewed at: www.cals.ncsu.edu:8050/research/field_labs/deu/aboutus.html
The NC State University Dairy Education Unit (NCSU DEU) plays a vital role in the teaching and research activities of the faculty at NC State University. The Unit provides the infrastructure, animals, and NC State University expertise needed to tackle agricultural industry problems. Research projects cover a wide range of topics such as improving milk production, decreasing health disorders, altering milk components to improve milk quality and nutritional attributes of milk, improving management techniques, and improving environmental management. It is not all research -- it is business too. The milk from the dairy is provided to the Department of Food Science for processing and sale of fluid milk, ice cream and other dairy products by the Pilot Plant.
The unit is an extremely significant component of the teaching program at NC State. Students from various courses are provided open access to the unit for hands-on. learning experience and day-to-day training on management related issues. Other Departments as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine routinely bring students to the unit for course related exercises. In addition, extension groups, school trips and other visitors from across the State are encouraged to visit the facility for educational demonstration purposes. The hightened level of potential spread of diseases to farm animals has enforced a strict set of guidelines for all visitors, including staff and students, to the dairy barn that includes walking on disinfectant mats, thoroughly washing hands, and donning disposable plastic gloves and boots.
The dairy unit is an extremely popular attraction for schoolchildren and general public as is witnessed during the annual Farm Animal Days and various tours hosted throughout the year. The unit also provides animals that are displayed on the main campus in March of each year during Agricultural Awareness Week sponsored by Alpha Zeta. The proximity of the dairy to the main campus makes it very convenient to train undergraduate and graduate students in different aspects of the dairy industry. It also is a great recruitment place for potential students. Visit the DEU's Homepage Research Link to view a listing of some of the projects conducted at the Dairy Unit.
The NCSU DEU maintains a milking herd of both registered Jersey and Holstein cattle. The NCSU DEU utilizes services of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association to officially record milk production and various other related herd data. The current milking herd average is 22,000 pounds for the Holsteins and 16,000 for the Jerseys. The NCSU DEU utilizes a double six herringbone milking parlor with Surge/Westfalia electronic recording and milking equipment twice each day. Feed rations are comprised of corn silage and alfalfa haylage, both which are grown on the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratories property. Various types of commodities are also used to compliment the livestock diets. These include, but are not limited to, cottonseed, soybean hulls, a protein byproduct feed, pelleted corn gluten, and cottonseed hulls. A grain concentrate is also included in the total mix ration (TMR). This concentrate is mixed on the farm using an automated computer driven mixer. The mixer allows various macro and micro ingredients to be batched using a computer interface for precise feed mixing of regular herd or research rations.
The NCSU DEU raises its own replacement heifers. All breeding is accomplished through artificial insemination. Mating of animals is accomplished by use of genetic background, animal type traits, and breed association classification scoring. Observation for signs of estrus in the cattle are monitored throughout the day by members of the full-time staff and by part-time employees at prearranged times in the evenings.