The Virginia Tech Dairy Science Complex - Kentland Farm is a state-of-the-art complex featuring the latest in dairy science technology on a 35-acre site. Its creation ensures the long-term success of Virginia Tech’s award-winning dairy science program and contributes to the land-grant mission of the university.
“This new, modern dairy science complex is a significant initiative for the college and university,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The new facilities provide great opportunities for students desiring a hands-on, experiential education, and they will also allow the faculty to conduct innovative research that is important for the dairy industry.”
The move from the former dairy complex on Southgate Road was prompted by the expansion of the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and a new U.S. Route 460 interchange.
“These facilities will provide the impetus for our departments’ continuing research and scholarship growth as well as ongoing support for undergraduate and graduate student training and achievement,” said Mike Akers, head of the Department of Dairy Science
This first phase of construction was a $14 million project that was funded by Virginia Tech with nongeneral funds. The Virginia General Assembly has approved $7.6 million in funding for Phase II of the dairy complex, which will include a demonstration facility located near Plantation Road, an applied reproductive physiology facility adjacent to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and an intensive metabolism research facility at the Kentland Farm complex. Construction on the Phase II of the dairy relocation is expected to start in 2016.
The benefits and features of the new complex include:
- Students and researchers from several fields of study — including the Department of Dairy Science, the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, the Agricultural Technology Program, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine — will use the facilities.
- The 11,900-square-foot milking parlor has a double-12 parallel milking system and is equipped with a milk monitoring system that measures milk composition on an individual cow basis. It also monitors cow activity to relate milk composition and activity with performance and health.
- The 46,000-square-foot freestall barn houses 232 milking cows. Feed consumption can be monitored for research purposes.
- The new waste management system features hydraulic flushing, sand bedding and recovery, and a weeping wall for solids collection.
- The preweaned calf facility has group housing and computer-controlled feeding technology.
- Another barn houses special needs animals, such as young heifers, breeding-age heifers, and close-up dry cows. There are also facilities for animal treatment and teaching.