Virginia Tech will open its new Dairy Science Complex-Kentland Farm on July 17.
The state-of-the art facility in Blacksburg, Va., bolsters the long-term success of Virginia Tech's dairy science program and contributes to the land-grant mission of the university.
In the new complex, students will examine modern issues in dairy science alongside researchers who are working on solving challenges and then sharing those solutions with Virginia Cooperative Extension.
"The construction of the Dairy Science Complex-Kentland Farm is a significant initiative for the college and university," said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "The new facilities provide great opportunities for students desiring a hands-on, experiential education, and they will also allow the faculty to conduct innovative research that is important for the dairy industry."
The dairy joins many other agricultural endeavors at the nearly 1,800-acre Kentland Farm. People from around the university use it for research, education and extension activities doing everything from conducting tests on row crops to advancing the knowledge and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones.
Some of the features of the new state-of-art dairy facility include an 11,900 sq. ft. milking parlor with a double-12 parallel milking system and a computerized milk-monitoring system, a 46,000 sq. ft. freestall barn where the 232 milking cows will be housed, a modern waste management system, a special-needs heifer barn and a pre-weaned calf facility.
The move from the former dairy science complex was prompted by the expansion of the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center and a new U.S. 460 interchange.
This first phase of construction was a $14 million project that was funded by Virginia Tech with non-general funds.
The Virginia General Assembly has approved $7.6 million in funding for Phase II of the dairy complex, which will include a demonstration facility, an applied reproductive physiology facility adjacent to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and an intensive metabolism research facility at the Kentland Farm complex. Construction on the Phase II of the dairy relocation is expected to start in 2016.