Dairy Unit

Mike Grott, Manager
Phone (765) 494-5319
Fax (765) 583-3330
email: grottm@purdue.edu

The dairy unit provides facilities needed to meet the research, teaching, and extension demands of the Indiana dairy industry. Currently, 200 Holstein dairy cows and 200 dairy herd replacements call this home. The manager, one assistant managers, and seven FTE technicians along with several part-time student workers (equivalent to approximately four FTEs) make up the Dairy staff. Through the efforts of the staff, Brown Swiss embryos are being donated to develop a herd of approximately 20 animals for teaching and extension. As is typical in many Indiana dairies and because of limited space, we have contracted with an outside party for growth and development of about 160 of our females. They will return to the herd as bred two-year-olds.

The research area is temperature-controlled using air from two geothermal fields. The unit houses an office for manager, a computer room, conference room, restrooms for visitors, an observation deck so visitors can view the milking operation and locker rooms for employees, students, and staff.

The milking parlor has a double eight-herringbone milking system, computerized automatic cow ID, milk meter system, automatic removal devices, back flush, stainless steel raceways, CIP equipment, fresh water flush, and 3,000-gallon bulk milk cooler. The cow holding and work area includes electronic scales for weighing animals, an area to catch and hold animals, additional space for demonstrations and classes, and a central area for working and sorting of animals. The metabolism unit has space to collect feces and urine from up to eight animals (male or female) and stanchions for up to 10 animals for intensive studies. All animals can be individually fed and milked in place using a portable milker. It is also equipped with a small milk room containing a 300-gallon, self-contained refrigerator tank to store milk from cows milked in the metabolism area. The analytical laboratory, adjacent to the metabolism unit, has a walk-in cooler and freezer for storage of animal samples and processed feed.

The maternity area has 10 pens available with individual water bowls and feed mangers. Each pen has a lock-in stanchion with feed box and diamond-grooved surfaces to provide proper footing. The treatment area has two pens for sick animals as well as stocks, and lighting for veterinary treatment.

There are two tie stall barns, one with 32 and the other with 40 tie stalls for individual handling and feeding experiments. Each stall has an individual feed box, water bowl, and gutters with standing fresh water for intermittent flushing. There are geothermal inlets at end of each tie stall area. Cows in the tie stall area have access to mounded, dirt exercise lots.

The herd barn features a non-heated environment with ridge and sidewall ventilation and 132 free stalls in four quadrants. Each one of these lots can be further divided into two groups, containing 16 and 17 stalls respectively. Electronic gates can be installed in place of self-locking stanchions for individual feed intake. Floor feeding, delivered with a mixer wagon, is used for group feeding. Recycled lagoon water is used to flush the freestall alleys using air controlled pop-up valves. The floor slope is 1.0 percent. Each quadrant has access to a mounded, dirt exercise lot. Bird netting is used to prevent birds from nesting. Calves are house in calf hutches.

Also available is a calf barn includes four rooms holding approximately 12 newborn calves each in individual pens and two rooms for 48 calves in a grow-out stage. Individual and group feeding are possible. Shallow gutters with standing fresh water are used for flushing. A central work area is used for moving animals easily, and for processing milk-replacer and other feeds.

The feed center includes a 32' x 120' building with seven silos of various sizes and eight supplemental bins attached around its perimeter. It houses a small office, tool and parts room, and bagged feed storage. Nearby are two bunker silos, (36' x 78' x 12') with a total capacity of approximately 1600 tons and a barn (40' x 192') for storage of hay and other bulk ingredients such as cottonseed.

The heifer barn and dry cow/bred heifer barn are open-front facilities, one 40' x 120' and the other 48' x 100'; both are used for loose housing.

An underground cement storage tank is used to collect liquid manure from the herd barn, tie- stall barns and the parlor. This waste is then pumped over an inclined-screen solids-liquid separator. Recovered solids are stored and composted prior to being returned to the cropland. The liquid portion goes to a two-cell lagoon; effluent from the second cell can then be pumped to tanks at the herd barn for use in flushing. Excess liquid waste from the lagoon is then disposed of on cropland, utilizing nutrients in a growing crop.

Take a photo tour of the Dairy Unit​

Department of Animal Sciences, 270 S Russell Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4808

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