Beef Cow-Calf Teaching & Research Center
Assistant Farm Manager
Dan Buskirk (517) 432-0400
Location5226 Bennett Road
Lansing, MI 48910
At this time, there are no open visiting hours. Please call the farm manager at 517-353-2245 to schedule a tour. Visitors must not have visited a foreign country in the 7 days prior to visiting the farm.
About the Center
The MSU Beef Cow-Calf Teaching & Research Center operates on 340 acres of land with the main barn located on the corner of Bennett and Beaumont Roads. Labor to run the Center is provided by a manager and student employees. The Center maintains a separate web site, Spartan Beef, with information about current events, cattle sales, and herd pedigrees.
Advance agriculture using multidisciplinary approaches to teach, generate, disseminate and apply knowledge in beef cattle biology and management. The Center will be utilized by dedicated faculty, staff, and students to develop successful graduates, conduct innovative research, and engage stakeholders.
Animal Inventory and Production
Approximately 50 cows (Purebred Angus) and their calves are maintained at the main location. The cows calve from February through April and are weaned in September through November. Beef cattle are bred and raised at Michigan State University to provide students with work experience in breeding, feeding, management and merchandizing of quality beef cattle as well as to furnish examples of high performance modern type cattle for selection and evaluation courses. Each year over 400 students are enrolled in classes utilizing cattle from the Center.
The goal of the herd is to wean a 90 - 95 % calf crop from the cows exposed to breeding. Artificial insemination (AI) is used extensively and then bulls are turned out to service females that did not conceive to AI service during a controlled breeding season. Performance records are collected and submitted to the respective breed associations for inclusion in the national cattle evaluation programs of the respective breeds.
The cattle are maintained in pastures most of the year using natural woodlots for windbreaks. These pastures are seeded with bluegrass, white clover, orchardgrass and bromegrass. They vary in size from 10 to 50 acres and are grazed on a rotational basis. All of the hay, corn fodder, and silage used to provide the winter-feed supply is grown on the MSU farms. The hay fields are seeded to alfalfa plus orchardgrass or bromegrass and are sometimes grazed after one cutting of hay is removed. Hay is stored in sheds for winter-feeding while corn silage is stored in bunker silos at the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching & Research Center. Approximately 2.5 tons of feed is required to feed each cow during the winter. Minerals are provided free choice for the cow herd throughout the year.
Many of the heifer calves are retained for classroom instruction and replacement females in the herd. Selected bull calves are sold privately, through consignment sales, or through the MCA/MSU Bull Evaluation Program. Bull calves that do not possess acceptable performance or conformation desirable for a breeding animal are finished as steers at the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching & Research Center (feedlot). Each year a few of the cattle produced in this herd are fitted for exhibition and/or sale by the MSU student employees.
The main barn was moved to its present location from the main MSU campus in 1954. It contains a small classroom plus temporary pens and feed storage for the cattle.