THE University of Saskatchewan officially opened its Rayner Dairy Research & Teaching Facility Oct. 15.
"This state-of-the-art facility offers unparalleled opportunities for researchers to create new knowledge that will help Canadian agricultural producers stay competitive, as well as providing a superior learning environment for our students and the visiting public," said Karen Chad, vice president, research.
Named in honor of John G. Rayner, former director of extension at the University of Saskatchewan, the new barn includes "Feeding the World" interpretive galleries to help educate the public about agriculture by providing information on how a dairy barn operates.
The Rayner barn houses the entire university dairy herd, which will be expanded to 100 cows by the end of 2013. The barn offers improved animal handling spaces as well as a computerized feeder system for real-time monitoring of on-demand feeding. In both the conventional milking parlor and the milk robot, milk production data for each cow are collected automatically, opening up many possibilities for future studies, the announcement said.
The barn is also equipped with self-activated grooming brushes for the comfort of the cows but also to advance research into how animals cope with stress.
Featuring an overhead walkway, the barn provides a bird's-eye view of the herd, milking parlor and computer-based milk robot.
"This modern facility showcases agriculture technology and provides the public with an opportunity to see the dairy industry," Saskatchewan agriculture minister Lyle Stewart said. "The interpretive galleries play an important role in educating youth about agriculture and the role it plays in feeding the world."
The $11.5 million facility's advanced research capabilities will help graduate and undergraduate students better prepare for jobs in the industry by training with the latest technology, the announcement said.
Research conducted in the Rayner facility will also explore nutrition, health, genetics, reproduction and animal welfare.