The Wise Center houses the the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University Television Center. Animal and Dairy Sciences occupies the fourth floor of the 360,000 square foot building.
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Ballew Hall may not look like a neighborhood butcher shop, but its Meats Laboratory produces some of the finest beef and pork products around-and offers them for sale to the public. The lab is operated for teaching and to research meats in the Animal and Dairy Science and the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion departments. Products from those activities are then put on sale to the public at the MAFES Sales Store. These include rib eye steaks, ground chuck, sirloin tip roasts, and many other cuts.
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Bearden Dairy Research Center
The Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center supports departmental teaching and research activities along with providing the students of Animal and Dairy Sciences contact with modern techniques in Animal Agriculture as well as the opportunity for practical work experience. These experiences give the students in this curriculum insight into many technical challenges associated with the dairy industry.
H.W. Essig Nutrition Lab in the James W. Scales Building
The H.W. Essig Nutrition Lab was named after a former professor and animal scientist in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.
H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center
The H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center (referred to as South Farm by MSU personnel) provides a very important land resource which supports departmental teaching and various research activities associated with Animal Science curriculum. It provides the students of Animal and Dairy Sciences contact with modern techniques in animal agriculture as well as the opportunity for practical work experience. These experiments give the students insight into many technical challenges associated with the animal production industry.
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The Brown Loam Branch Station, located in Raymond, has focused research on beef cattle production, grassland management and utilization, agronomic row crop production, and conservation management. Beef cattle programs include research on cattle behavior and influences on growth performance, immunity and production efficiency; as well as animal breeding, nutrition, heifer development, A.I. synchronization, forage systems and stocker management. Beef cattle numbers peak at about 900 head, consisting of spring and fall breeding herds of 350 cows and approximately 300 stockers grazed each year.
The Prairie Research Unit, located on the Blackbelt Prairie soils of northeast Mississippi, is a 2400+ acre facility where research is conducted on forage-based livestock production systems. Current research efforts include market studies of how various feeder calf, beef breeding herd replacement, and market cow and bull traits affect cattle prices at public auctions. Incidence rates of Beef Quality Assurance defects in live cattle are also being quantified. Efforts are underway to determine the most profitable systems for renovating toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue pastures to non-toxic forages using annual cash crops as part of the conversion process. Research is in progress to assess the use of native warm- and cool-season grasses relative to improved warm- and cool-season grasses for drought mitigation in beef stocker production systems. The Prairie Research Unit is home to a state-of-the-art GrowSafe feeding facility which is used to monitor individual animal intake. This facility is used to conduct research on livestock feed efficiency, diet selection, and feeding behavior. The station is an active partner in Mississippi State University Extension Service outreach to the livestock and forage industries.
The White Sands Unit has 440 acres and was originally a tung research unit operated cooperatively by USDA and Mississippi state. Currently it is the main beef cattle research unit with about 150 mature cows, 11 bulls and 54 replacement heifers. The beef cattle research is based on cow-calf production, which is the most common beef cattle enterprise in south Mississippi.
University Livestock Herds
Approximately 200 cows make up the cow/calf herd at the Leveck Animal Research Center and are used for research and teaching activities. Purebred Angus and Hereford cows are managed as a fall calving herd and 125 commercial crossbred females with Angus, Simmental, and Brahman influence are managed as a spring calving herd. Bulls, heifers, and stocker cattle are sold through public auctions. Proceeds from these sales go towards supporting livestock research programs in Mississippi. There are currently several ongoing research projects using beef cattle including hair shedding and adaptability studies to evaluate genetic differences and impacts on performance, stocker cattle receiving studies investigating effects of management strategies on health and performance, reproduction research identifying effective methods to maximize reproductive efficiency, physiology research investigating how factors during gestation affect the health and performance of calves, and nutrition research focusing on forage utilization and supplementation strategies.
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Approximately 35 Jersey and 125 Holstein cows make up the dairy herd at the Joe Bearden Dairy Research Center. The American Jersey Cattle Association ranked the MSU Jersey herd 5th in milk production in 2013! We are the only university-owned herd to make the top ranking and we are also one of the oldest continually bred university-owned Jersey herds in the nation. Milk from the dairy is used to make MSU’s famous cheese and ice cream. This award-winning herd is used primarily for research and teaching activities. There are currently several ongoing research projects including nutrition studies evaluating forages and milk production, reproduction studies evaluating strategies to maximize fertility and reproductive efficiency, physiology studies looking out how the environment in the uterus might affect offspring performance, and projects looking at the best way to manage dairy calves.
Approximately 100 horses used for research and teaching can be found at the Leveck Animal Research Center. Mississippi State University was one of 26 horse breeders, including only one other university, from across the United States and Canada recently honored by the American Quarter Horse Association for 50 years of breeding to produce quality Quarter Horses. Horses are sold annually through an on-line auction and proceeds are returned to facilitate research. Ongoing research at the horse unit includes nutrition projects to investigate supplementation strategies and reproduction studies designed to learn more about placentitis.
The Leveck Animal Research Center houses 6 to 12 sows which produce approximately 200 pigs annually. These pigs are used for research and teaching activities. Ongoing research includes reproduction studies to improve fertility via nanotechnology and nutrition studies to evaluate growth and performance.