Beef Cattle Facilities

The Animal Science Department maintains two main cattle facilities on the UC Davis Campus. The feedlot is primarily used for research and teaching pertaining to the feedlot industry. Research in nutrition, immunology, animal behavior and ruminant physiology is carried out by faculty of the Animal Science department, Veterinary Medicine Teaching hospital, California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Department of Agronomy.

The Animal Science Feedlot is located approximately 2 miles west of the main campus. It has a one-time capacity of 650 head. There are 28 group pens and a trial barn consisting of 136 individual pens. Feed is produced on site in the Animal Science feed mill, which also supplies feed for the other animal facilities in the Animal Science department. Feed is weighed to each pen daily, and records are maintained on feed consumption and feed efficiency. Pens are concrete-floored with covers in each pen for shade and inclement weather. Stormwater runoff is diverted to an onsite settling basin prior to being pumped to campus sanitary sewer system.

The Animal Science Beef Barn is located just west of the main campus off Garrod Drive. This facility is primarily used for cow/calf management and teaching. The physical facilities consist of two large hay storage barns with cattle pens arranged around the outside of the barns. In addition, there are approximately 50 acres of irrigated pasture near the main barns for summer grazing. In the winter, cows and calves are moved to remote pastures in the foothills bordering the cities of Vacaville and Folsom. These two pastures provide approximately 750 acres of annual grasses and oak trees. All of the buildings/barns have roof gutters with downspouts plumbed beneath ground to a central collection pipeline which drains into the adjacent pasture. The pens/confinement areas are cleaned on a weekly to bi-weekly schedule depending upon stocking rate. Any runoff from these areas drain into the adjoining pasture.

The teaching herd is composed of purebred herds of Polled Hereford and Angus. The herds are composed of about 50 breeding-age females. Replacement heifers are generated from the herds with any excess animals being sold to help support our program. Bull calves are either sold as herd sires or castrated and used for feedlot research. Teaching herd animals are used for several beef classes, internships in beef cattle management and for tours given for 4-H clubs, producer groups, foreign visitors and many other community outreach activities.

The Animal Science Department also has cattle research in two additional locations.

The Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center is located outside Marysville. Commercial cow/calf research is the primary focus of this station. The Station is maintained by the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of California. The Animal Science cattle herd is approximately 450 breeding age females. Upon weaning, male calves are sent to the Feedlot on the Davis campus for further use in teaching and research activities.

The Desert Research and Extension Center (DREC) is located near El Centro, California. DREC is primarily a feedlot facility conducting research of feedlot cattle in the hot climate of the desert. With a capacity of nearly 600 head of feedlot cattle, DREC is a valuable tool for the feedlot industry in California.

Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center

8279 Scott Forbes Road
Browns Valley, CA 95918-9636
Phone: (530) 639-8800

Open Position
Facility Manager
+1 530-639-8800

The Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center is located outside Marysville. Commercial cow/calf research is the primary focus of this station

Student interns at this facility have the opportunity to gain experience and in depth knowledge of all aspects pertaining to the management of a cow-calf herd.

Internships vary in emphasis depending upon the time of the year and the range of activities include: calving, semen collection and evaluation, estrus detection, artificial insemination, processing & weaning calves. Student interns are provided dormitory space at the field station and may be eligible for a stipend of up to $500.00 for the quarter.

Imperial Valley Desert Research Center

1004 East Holton Road
El Centro, CA 92243
Phone:(760) 356-3060

Dr. Richard Zinn, Director  
+1 760-356-3068

Located in the low desert region 90 miles east of San Diego and 13 miles north of Mexico, this facility focuses on feedlot cattle research and intensive grazing management of both cattle and sheep.

Students can participate in a variety of research projects related to health, nutrition, and management of feedlot cattle. In addition, there are opportunities for involvement in intensive grazing management of cattle and sheep. Specific activities may include: feed mill operation, receiving & processing cattle, feeding & management, and care of animals in the metabolism unit.

Modern housing provided. Paid or academic credit internships available.

The department generally has 45-50 individual ongoing research projects resulting in more than 100 publications per year. There are also several areas of cooperative research with colleagues in other departments (Agronomy and Range Science, and Food Science and Technology, for example) and in the School of Veterinary Medicine (Population, Health, and Reproduction) as well as the School of Medicine.

The department also has research programs at four University field stations.