Training and experience working with livestock, whether it is with best management practices for production or for research methods, are among the most important facets of a well-rounded education. The SDSU Animal Science Department has excellent facilities and large numbers of cattle, hogs, sheep and horses available for teaching and research, all within two miles of campus. Premier swine and cow-calf teaching/research units were completed in 2016, giving students access to modern technology. A state-inspected meats laboratory supports experiences in meats teaching and research.
Animal Science Complex:
Located on campus, the complex includes faculty and graduate student offices, classrooms, the meats laboratory, experimental animal facilities, and several research laboratories. A spacious livestock arena is located next to the Animal Science building.
Animal Science Arena
A multi-purpose arena provides flexibility for bringing livestock to students for many classes which include activities in livestock evaluation, marketing, handling and other activities. The arena is also home to the Little International Livestock Exposition, judging contests and many other events.
Through hands-on learning and observation, students can experience the full process of converting a live animal into high quality protein products for consumers. The meat lab includes facilities for animal slaughter, carcass fabrication, sausage and cured meat processing, carcass evaluation, retail sales and meat science research.
Many other laboratories housed in the Animal Science Complex offer undergraduate research opportunities and part-time employment, in disciplines such as ruminant nutrition, monogastric nutrition, reproductive physiology and molecular genetics.
Campus Livestock Units:
Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility
This new facility continues SDSU’s long-time commitment to the beef industry and allows SDSU to offer unmatched hands-on learning experiences for students and tremendous opportunities for research and outreach. The facility includes classrooms, offices, laboratories, indoor animal handling facilities, and a multi-purpose/calving area with a “learn by doing” environment. A state-of-the-art individual feeding barn equipped with a computer-controlled feeding system will allow for application of dietary treatments to individual animals and collection of individual feed and water intake. Adjacent pastures support teaching, research, Extension and outreach efforts. The cowherd is comprised of registered Angus and SimAngus cattle that are used for evaluation, marketing, management, nutrition, and reproduction courses and play a key role in a number of research projects. This facility is an investment in the future of the beef industry and is a valuable asset in training the next generation of beef producers and industry professionals.
Equine Teaching Facility
SDSU built its present horse barn in 1925 to house the draft horses that were used to farm the ground of the SDSU Experiment Station. Located just to the west of the Animal Science Complex, today this historic barn facilitates the use of 50 head of Quarter Horses for teaching and Extension purposes. Horses are used in a wide range of classes including Introduction to Horse Management, Horse Production, Equine Health and Disease, Yearling Halter Training and many more. “Little I”, Horse Judging contests, Horse Club activities and collaborations with the American Indian Student Center are just some of the ways that the unit horses are used.
Sheep Research Unit
This educational center serves research, teaching, and Extension functions. The modern lambing and multi-purpose barn are used to lamb approximately 400 ewes during winter, spring and fall lambing seasons. Students gain experience in pre- and post-partum ewe management, baby lamb care, reproductive technologies and nutritional strategies. The research focus is production systems efficiency with emphasis on co-product based sheep and lamb diets and reproduction management.
Swine Education and Research Facility
Constructed in 2016, this unit includes state-of-the art farrow-to-finish capabilities featuring stall and pen gestation housing, electronic feeding systems in farrowing rooms, boar collection and semen processing labs, surgery suite, and a physiology room, all accessible from the on-site classroom or elevated observation hallway. The unit houses 150 sows which will supply pigs to the on-site finishing barn which has four, 300-head rooms dedicated to nutrition and animal care/housing research. A 1,200 head commercial style off-site wean-to-finish barn facilitates additional research and teaching. Through these facilities, the swine unit plays an integral role in exposing students from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and other places to real-world swine industry practices and current research.
Additional Research Facilities:
Ruminant Nutrition Center
Feedlot cattle nutrition and management research is the focus of this facility which includes 50 research pens and processing facilities.
Beef Breeding Cattle Research Unit
This unit is designed to facilitate research on breeding age cattle in South Dakota.
Off Campus Livestock Facilities
Research facilities located near Antelope, Cottonwood and Beresford increase the scope of production systems and environments in which research is conducted. Research conducted at these stations in the northwest, southwest and southeast areas of the state often has direct application to producers in the area. In addition to these SDSU sites, animal science studies are also conducted on private farms and ranches and on public grazing lands.