The dairy herd consists of ~100 Holstein cows that are currently milked twice daily. Dry and milking cows are housed in freestall barns using sand bedding. Lactation research is conducted in a barn in which the cows can be fed individually.
When the cows calve at UD, the calves are weaned and then transported and raised via a joint heifer-raising program at Rutgers University. Heifers are raised and bred, then returned to the University of Delaware several months prior to calving.
The proximity of cropland to the dairy operations allows faculty and students to conduct small and large-scale research on forage production and quality. Past and current research has centered on evaluation of corn silage hybrids, harvesting corn silage at different cutting heights, wilting alfalfa via wide swathing, and evaluating methods to enhance silage fermentation and aerobic stability.
Research and Teaching Facilities
The University of Delaware Dairy is an integral part of the university’s teaching, research, and extension programs. The dairy, located on the 350 acre College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) complex in Newark, provides hands-on experiences and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
These experiences are significantly enhanced by the close proximity of our teaching and research facilities to the UD Newark farm. Only a few minutes separate the students engaged in our dairy science program from the real-world setting of a working dairy farm.
Dairy nutrition research is closely linked with studies on silage and forage production conducted on the farm. All forages fed at the UD dairy are grown on UD farmlands, where about 130 acres is available for the production of corn silage and alfalfa haylage. Additional UD land in nearby Middletown, Delaware provides an important supplementary source of haylage.
The dairy science program is also an outstanding example of the use of environmentally sound management practices that sustain productivity and protect water quality. Farm-wide, the UD CANR implements a comprehensive nutrient management plan that addresses nutrient balance and best management practices implemented in order to use fertilizers and manures in a manner that optimizes plant and animal productivity and protects air, soil, and water quality. Cooperative Extension programs conducted on the farm demonstrate these practices to farmers and others in the dairy industry.