The OSU Dairy Research Center is located on 180 acres just west of campus in Corvallis, Oregon. The main barn was built in 1968 following a fire that destroyed the original barn at the site. The OSU campus in Corvallis has had a dairy facility for over 100 years.
In 2012, the milking cows were sold to provide money for needed upgrades to the facility. In September 2013, an alumnus generously donated 30 Jersey cows to help get the unit milking again. The current milking herd consists of about 80 registered Jerseys and Holsteins, as some of the original OSU heifers were retained during the improvements. Some Holstein-Jersey crossbreds are also part of the herd. The focus has shifted from high production to more of a forage-based feeding system in order to broaden the horizons of education and research.
Many upgrades have taken place through the years to keep the facility consistent with modern dairy operations. The Dairy Center has technologies such as pedometers to measure cow activity and an integrated scale for collecting body weights. Probes and meters collect information about each cow at each milking, including milking time; total pounds of milk produced; percentages of milk fat, protein, and lactose; conductivity; and somatic cell count.
The main purpose of the dairy facility is to support research and teaching for the Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department. Researchers from various disciplines use the facility to conduct investigations in areas such as ruminant nutrition, reproduction, animal behavior, animal health, herd management, pasture management, and stored forage production. A variety of classes (from elementary through graduate level), campus clubs, and community organizations utilize the dairy for learning experiences.
The Dairy Center provides students hands-on experience with animals and dairy practices. Labor for the dairy is supplied by the manager, a full-time employee, and students, who are heavily involved in daily activities at the Dairy Center. Students milk, feed, and handle cows; take care of calves and older heifers; operate machinery; and help manage forage production and harvesting.