The UC Davis Dairy Teaching and Research Facility is located on the main campus at the University of California at Davis. The milking herd of 105 cows, excluding dry cows, are milked two times per day in a modern single herringbone parlor with automatic takeoffs, cow identification and production recording. In addition, the dairy has computerized rumination and activity monitoring used for estrus detection and detection of sick cows. The rolling herd average is well above 27,500 pounds of energy corrected milk per cow annually. Milk from the dairy is sold to Hilmar Cheese Company, Hilmar, CA. Along with the milk cows, 200 replacement heifers are raised from birth to calving at this facility. All of the animals are registered. The makeup of the herd is 75% Holsteins and 25% Jersey cows.
Many formal classes use the dairy facility and its animals throughout the year. Besides these courses, students can enroll in independent studies and internship programs at the dairy to gain practical experience in various aspects of dairy management. In fact, the dairy facility relies heavily upon and encourages student involvement in day-to-day operations. Four students live at the dairy and work for their housing.
The research mission involves areas such as nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, genetics, and herd health to name a few. Researchers from a number of departments and colleges on the campus use the dairy facility and its animals. The outreach activities of the dairy are varied. Children from elementary schools in the Sacramento Valley tour the dairy each spring and the animals are used for fields days and judging contests.
- Dairy calf management: 6 hours/week feeding and caring for young calves, 9-10:30 am and 4-5:30 pm every day of the week. Interns do 4 shifts each week.
- Dairy cow management: 6 hours/week working with mature cows in reproduction, health and animal handling, 9 am – noon every day of the week. Interns do 2 shifts each week.
- Heifer/dry cow herdsperson: 1.25 hours/day in am. Feed, heat detect, move, observe heifers and dry cows for well being, assist with calvings. Interns do 5 shifts each week.
- Repro & ultrasound internship: Monday AM and Wednesday afternoon. Help with pregnancy blood tests, ultrasound for sex determination, and synchronization protocols.
- Other advanced internships are possible after discussion with the manager.