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Published June 26, 2011, 10:20 AM

NDSU dedicates beef research center

FARGO, N.D. - If you'd like a first-hand look at North Dakota State University's new state-of- the-art Beef Cattle Research Complex, you'll soon have a chance.

FARGO, N.D. - If you'd like a first-hand look at North Dakota State University's new state-of- the-art Beef Cattle Research Complex, you'll soon have a chance.

NDSU officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility at 11 a.m.

June 29. Following that, you'll be able to tour the facility at 3816 19th Ave.

N., Fargo (just west of Interstate 29).

"The facility will allow NDSU to accomplish the vast array of research needed to meet the challenges of 21st century beef cattle production," says D.C. Coston, NDSU vice president for Agriculture and University Extension. "It complements intensive campus-based facilities such as the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Center and the extensive research capabilities at the Research Extension Centers in Carrington, Streeter, Hettinger and Dickinson."

The complex consists of a feeding area, cattle handling system, calving pens, an office and laboratory area, and a facility for mixing and storing feed.

Its specialized feeding equipment will give NDSU a distinct advantage in beef cattle research because it will allow researchers to measure and control feed intake for cattle individually and provide a variety of diets for cattle in the same pen, according to Greg Lardy, head of NDSU's Animal Sciences Department.

The facility can handle up to 192 head of cattle.

Only three other facilities in North America have the same equipment.

The feed facility will allow researchers to mix, store and provide cattle with feed ingredients including hays, grains, silages, wet and dry byproducts, and dry and liquid supplements.

The state-of-the art handling system is able to process and weigh all classes of cattle. Ultrasonography to determine pregnancy or carcass quality and tissue sample collection also can be conducted in the handling facility.

"This facility will focus research efforts on areas that will improve the efficiency of beef cattle production and gather new data on relationships between feed intake and physiology, animal health, behavior and nutrient requirements," Lardy says. "It also will give our students, staff and faculty the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art facility."

Some of the first projects planned for the facility include a variety of nutrition and reproductive physiology research in growing cattle as well as pregnant and lactating beef cows.

The facility was constructed using a combination of state and federal dollars, which totaled more than $3 million.

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