A new livestock facility at Colorado State University puts the university in a class with only a handful of other universities. The facility at the Agricultural Research Development and Education Center, ARDEC, offers the benefit of a more spacious, state-of-the-art facility than what the university's previous facility, Rigden Farm, offered.
"The facility will be a major attraction for students who intend to study animal sciences and livestock, and it gives faculty the opportunity to teach in a new, state-of- the-art facility," said Steve LeValley, Colorado State Cooperative Extension specialist and the faculty representative for the facility's construction.
The new facility, which will be used by the Agricultural Experiment Station, triples the acreage available for pasture and crops to the University. The facility is on 700 acres just off of Interstate 25.
Although the first 280 acres were purchased in 1978, it wasn't until 1992 that the first phase of the project, the move of the plant sciences program, took place. The $3 million plant science facility includes an office, conference room, and machine shop, with research plots to study irrigation, plant nutrition, pest control, and plant improvement of wheat, dry beans, and other crops. The $8.4 million second phase, the animal sciences component, includes centralized animal handling facilities, a beef feedlot and nutrition unit, sheep research and teaching facilities, a calving and calf-care facility, self-contained swine units, irrigated pasture, crop land, and the new Education and Outreach center.
"The conference center allows us to expand teaching and outreach programs," said LeValley. In addition to a 300-seat arena, the Education and Outreach Center has classroom seating for 60 and a 12-seat conference room. It has capabilities for live animal evaluation and is equipped with catering facilities and audio-visual equipment.
The livestock handling facilities were designed by Temple Grandin, a Colorado State Animal Sciences professor internationally known for her efficient and humane animal handling designs. "The pens are designed to handle livestock with the least amount of stress in an efficient manner, with the least amount of manpower. They will demonstrate to our students the way to move livestock most effectively," said LeValley.
The number of single-animal pens for beef feedlot research has been increased from 15 to 48, and there are 50 ten-head pens for feedlot research. ARDEC also includes a new intensive ruminant nutrition research building, which will consolidate some of the projects currently conducted at the metabolic lab.
Two hundred acres at the new location are irrigated with a center-pivot sprinkler. The land will be used for cattle and sheep pasture. Other crop land at ARDEC will be used to grow corn and hay to feed the livestock and will allow the facility to be self-sufficient. "We've formed a unique coalition with the plant science unit to raise the crops," said LeValley.
Faculty are excited about the completion of the ARDEC facility and the potential it holds for livestock and crop research at Colorado State University.
"Everybody is certainly excited to use this facility for student education, research, and outreach," said LeValley. The center, along with the rest of the facility, is already being put to use. It was featured in the ARDEC open house in September.