Beef and Sheep Field Research Laboratory

Dan Shike (in orange) shows David Ammann (in blue) results of tests showing the amount of Carbon Dioxide and Methane that cattle release when eating different diet formulations.

Located just 5 miles south of the UIUC campus, this facility provides students an opportunity for hands-on “classroom” experiences. The facility maintains approximately 50 head of feeder lambs for judging and handling classes. There are 150 head of Angus cows at the Research Facility and those cows can be maintained on the 150 acres of surrounding pasture land or brought into the barns where there are 34 pens for more intensive cow studies. The bulk of the campus operation is made up by the feedlot. The feedlot has 120 pens with GrowSafe nodes allowing for individual intake data on a capacity of 960 head, one of the largest in the nation. This facility also hosts the Metabolism Barn where there are 12 individual stalls, 6 of which are equipped with head boxes to collect gas emissions data. These stalls hold our metabolism animals that allow us to get a closer look at what’s going on in the rumen. Much of our work at this facility focuses on feed efficiency as that is a primary concern for beef cattle producers. We also investigate rumen metabolism, digestibility of alternative feeds, and fetal programming.

Orr Agricultural Research Center

The OARC is a pasture-based, predominantly cow-calf operation. There are 200 SimAngus cows at the OARC. For research replication, there are 12 drylot pens, 12 five-acre permanent pastures, and 12 ten-acre pastures. Beef nutrition research at the OARC has focused on winter feeding and management strategies for cows, grazing trials, fetal programming, and genomics to evaluate RFI.

Dixon Springs Agricultural Center

DSAC is also a pasture-based, cow-calf operation. There are 850 cows at DSAC in a predominantly SimAngus herd. The southern Illinois facility has over 2,000 acres of pasture. There are 32 permanent 5 acre pastures for replicated grazing trials. Newly installed in 2012, a GrowSafe system allows for individual feed intake monitoring with 126 head capacity. This GrowSafe system at DSAC allows us to collect RFI data on our cows and heifers for genomics projects. Additional research at DSAC includes fetal programming work, creep feeding, and fescue tolerance. DSAC also hosts undergraduate interns every summer, giving students experiential learning opportunities.

Beef Cattle Nutrition LaboratoriesLindsay Shoup (in purple) and Bain Wilson (in pale green) take an ultrasound reading of backfat from a Charolais steer while Tara Felix (in sky blue) looks on.

122 and 118 Animal Science Laboratory
1207 W Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL

The Beef Cattle Nutrition Laboratories at the University of Illinois are centrally located in the Department of Animal Sciences. Lab 122 and 118 are supervised by James Hartman.  These labs are set up specifically to provide experiential learning of proximate analysis, centrifugation, etc. to our undergraduate and graduate students conducting research. Students working in the Beef Cattle Nutrition Laboratories have access to new equipment that provides them with an understanding of the current technologies available in laboratory analysis.