University of Florida

Dairy Unit - Standard Operating Procedures


Facilities: Dairy Unit

The unit comprises 850 acres for research in all phases of dairy production. The herd consists of about 800 grade and registered Holstein females (500 milking cows). In addition, 40-70 dispensable animals are usually retained or purchased for physiology research. From birth, all animals contribute to research projects. Records on performance have been kept since 1901. There are very complete records since 1929.

Outside experimental facilities for feed processing, storage, and evaluation include two bunker silos of 1000- and 450-ton capacity and two silos of 100-ton capacity each, a freestall barn with 48 individual feeding units (Calan gates) and a 175 cow freestall barn with 170 Calan gates for individual feeding of cows. An additional 200 cow freestall barn without individual feeding capacity is available for general management research. A feed mill to support nutrition research, including three Calan Data Rangers (computerized feeding machines) are used routinely. In addition to these research facilities, the unit is equipped with machinery, tractors, wagons, etc., necessary for a large, modern dairy operation. A shop for equipment maintenance is located at the unit.

A modern double 12 herringbone, rapid-exit milking parlor equipped with air-operated sort gates and automatic identification and milk recording was constructed in 1999.

A stanchion barn with adjacent environmental chambers are used for research purposes. The chambers were constructed in 1982. These consist of two animal rooms and a central control room. Each animal room accommodates two cows. Room specifications are temperature range 2°C to 50°C and relative humidity range 40 to 90%. Air turnover is four room changes per hour. Photoperiod, temperature and humidity are controlled by a programmable control system. Rooms are equipped to measure feed and water intake and have vacuum lines for milking lactating cows. The entire system was re-built in 1994.


13200 NW 59th Drive
Gainesville, FL, 32653
(386) 462-1016

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Dairy Research Unit Milking parlor Milking parlor Milking parlor Milking parlor Dairy Research Unit