Beef Cattle Teaching & Research Center

Assistant Farm Manager

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (517) 353-2245

Faculty Coordinator

Dr. Daniel Buskirk (517) 432-0400


5307 Bennett Road
Lansing, MI 48910

Visitor Information

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 Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Center is located in the MSU farms area south of the main campus at the intersection of Beaumont and Bennett Roads. The Center maintains a separate web site, Spartan Beef, with information about current events, cattle sales, and herd pedigrees.


The MSU Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Center (BCRTC) conducts basic and applied beef cattle (ruminant) research and teaching that benefits beef cattle producers and ultimately the consumers of Michigan. The facility was built in 1964 from legislative appropriations and donations from the Michigan agricultural industry.

Facility Description

Many of the research projects investigate methods to increase productivity of Michigan feedlots. The reproductive physiology group has use of the two rooms in the west wing. The remainder of BCRTC is designated for ruminant nutrition research.

The facility is also used for classroom instruction to demonstrate the use of technology and proper animal care techniques to veterinary, undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, the unit is visited by tour groups from all over the world. Undergraduate students are exposed to the daily routine involved in the management of a commercial size feedlot through the part-time employment program.

The major components of the BCRTC are:

  • 31 partially covered pens (14 ft x 39 ft).
  • 40 completely covered, slotted floor confinement pens (10 ft x 16 ft).
  • 8 outside pens (60 ft x 300 ft).
  • 4 partially covered isolation pens (10 ft x 40 ft).
  • 44 metabolism pens and stalls.

Feed storage facilities at the BCRTC are:

  • A covered hay and straw storage barn (50 ft x 200 ft).
  • 5 concrete tower silos (225 ton capacity).
  • 1 Harvestore silo (250 ton capacity).
  • 1 concrete tower silo (1200 ton capacity).
  • 1 bunker silo (30 ft x 100 ft - 1200 ton capacity).
  • 4 experimental bunker silos (150 ton capacity).
  • 4 supplement bins (1 six ton capacity and 3 two ton capacity).

Animal Inventory and Production

The BCRTC facility has a one-time capacity of 800 head of cattle. Cattle vary in size and gender depending on the research protocol. Currently, there are three major classes of livestock fed at the facility.

  • One-half to two-thirds of the animals are yearling cattle (beef breeds or Holstein) that weigh 700-900 pounds. The cattle are generally older than 12 months and are on feed for 100-160 days on a diet comprised of 80 % corn and supplement and 20 % corn silage.
  • The second class consists of recently weaned beef calves weighing 400-600 pounds. Their diet generally contains more corn silage (grower diet) early in the feeding period. These calves are normally on feed for 180 to 240 days.
  • The third class includes light-weight Holstein steers (calf-fed Holsteins) that are purchased at 250-325 pounds and fed 90 % - 100 % corn and pellets for 300-360 days. Beef cattle originate from states such as Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri. The Holsteins generally originate from Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin. Cattle are fed until the manager estimates that they have adequate finish to meet market specifications. These specifications are based on size and degree of finish. Cattle are slaughtered at commercial plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The facility has feed storage for 40,000 bushels of high moisture corn and 10,000 bushels of dry corn. There is also storage for 2,500 tons of corn silage. High moisture feedstuffs are stored in bulk in cone-bottom bins or in 50-pound bags. Hay (250 tons) and straw (180 tons) are stored in an open front hay shed. A grain elevator is used to move grain into the storage units. Feed is mixed in the batch plant for each pen daily.

Typical animal and feeding statistics are as follows:

  • Daily water consumption: 5-10 gallons.
  • Daily day matter consumption: 15 lb corn, 4 lb corn silage, 1 lb of protein-mineral material.
  • Daily gain: 3.0 lb per day.
  • Feed conversion efficiency: 7.0 lb of feed per pound of gain.
  • Initial weight: 700 lb.
  • Market weight: 1,225 lb.
  • Cost of gain: $45.00 per 100 lb