New ISU Dairy Farm ready for Oct. 20 grand opening

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

AMES, Iowa — There was a flurry of activity at the Iowa State University Dairy Farm last week as workers readied the facility for its Oct. 20 grand opening. Cement was being poured in the hospital barn, the milking parlor equipment was being installed and wiring, painting, earthwork and seeding were under way.

Leo Timms, ISU Extension dairy specialist, said the cows will arrive in early November. The grand opening is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The farm is south of Ames on 260th Street.

The $10 million dairy brings a much-needed resource to a state that is interested in growing its dairy industry, Timms said


"Iowa ranks 12th in dairy nationwide and if ISU wants to be a leader, we need facilities to do that work," Timms said. "This farm continues ISU’s tradition of training the best people to be future leaders in the dairy industry. The new research and teaching farm is an investment by ISU and the state in the dairy industry."

The complex of buildings is constructed on 27 of the farm’s 887 acres. The farm will have 450 milking cows plus a similar number of heifers, dry cows and calves.

The animal housing and management systems match industry standards and make use of the latest technology, Timms said. There is a 456-cow free stall barn, a milking center with a double-12 parallel subway milking parlor, public viewing area, a classroom and meeting room, a special needs/hospital barn, a dry cow/transition barn, a maternity and calf research barn, and four heifer barns.

The manure handling systems include a separator in the free-stall barn, and manure will be stored in an above-ground tank.

The naturally ventilated free-stall barn includes mattresses as well as other forms of bedding. There are unique electrical and water grids for ventilation, water and lighting research.

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