The New Richmond News announced on November. 5, 1964 that $82,500 had been appropriated to purchase land and buildings for a second university laboratory farm. The university proposed to exercise an option on property known as the Herbert Turner farm. This project was approved in part to meet mandated standards issued by the U.S. Office of Education. The new farm would allow for the addition of sheep and beef operations, thus meeting the national criteria of the U.S. Office of Education requiring five classes in livestock on laboratory farms at institutions training vocational agriculture teachers. The New Richmond News also reported that the acreage of the original campus farm had significantly decreased with the expansion of the main campus. Residence halls, a campus school, the agronomy building, and parking lots occupied much of the land that was once utilized by the original farm, which was located on the campus in the area currently occupied by the Agricultural–Science Building. Approximately 65 acres of the original farm were given over to these construction projects, and by the end of 1965, a total of 100 acres had been lost. Moving part of the farm operations to a new location to the north of the city, was projected to save the state $600,000 for land that would otherwise have to have been purchased for new dormitories needed to meet the expected increases in enrollment over the next ten years.
Herbert Turner sold his 320 acre farm in Troy Township to the Wisconsin State University at River Falls. At the time this was one of the largest real estate transactions in the region. The property, which for many years was known as the Black Farm, was reportedly sold for $55,000. Mr. Turner had owned the farm since 1956.
The Mann Valley Laboratory Farm is located 2.5 miles northwest for the city on county highway MM, and covers 291 acres. The farm has facilities for beef, sheep, and swine operations as well as dairy, which was moved from the campus farm to Mann Valley in 2007. The farm also has a center pivot irrigation system with a swing-end gun, which was purchased in 1984.
Management of the livestock enterprises has seen many changes over the years, but in the late 1980’s consisted of the following.
The beef operation consisted of 25 Polled Herefords, 15 registered Charolais, and 30 cross-bred cows. Feeding was carried out on renovated pasture during the summer and fall; the cows were provided with corn stalks and silage during the winter months. Calving was accomplished in April and May, and calves were weaned at seven months, and then fed out as market cattle in the steer barn feeding facility. Twenty percent of each calf crop was kept as replacement heifers and bull calves. Herd sires were housed in lots located north of the steer barn. One-third of the cow herd was bred by artificial insemination at that time.
The swine herd consisted of 32 cross-bred sows and 3 boars. The facilities consisted of a farrowing unit, a nursery, a finishing barn, and a series of outside lots. There were 12 farrowing crates in the heated farrowing unit. The pigs were weaned at four and five weeks and moved to a heated nursery area with automatic waterers, self feeders, self flushing gutters, and a manure pit. The pigs remained in the nursery until they reached approximately 70 pounds and were then transferred to the finishing barn. About 400 pigs were fed out to market weight each year.
The sheep operation consisted of three purebred registered breeds of 30 ewes each. They were Dorset, Hampshire, and Columbia. There was also a commercial flock of 60 to 70 various cross-bred ewes. The flocks were housed in two barns with heated lambing rooms. Ewes were kept on dry lots and small exercise pastures, and were fed haylage throughout the year. Rams were housed in outside lots located north of the hog facilities.
Lambing of the two registered flocks occurred in January and February, and the commercial flocks lambed in March and April. Ewes were sheared prior to lambing, and lambs were fed to market weight. Some were marketed and some were kept as replacement ewes or rams.
Additional Operations and Facilities
A four-acre research and demonstration area and a small arboretum were maintained on the Mann Valley Farm. These areas were used for class field trips to view alfalfa variety trial plots and other forage research projects. Ornamental shrubs and various shade tree species were available for horticulture classes. Part of the arboretum area was used as a nursery for ornamental plant materials to be used for student campus landscaping projects.
The farm also had a feed mil, which was used to prepare livestock rations for both farms. the mill was equipped to grind, pellet, roll, and mix any ration needed for the livestock enterprises. A corn drying unit and accompanying storage facility stood adjacent to the mill.
The laboratory farms were and are extensively used throughout the year by students, faculty, and by the general public. They are an integral part of the College’s instructional programs for students in Animal Science, Soil Science, Agronomy, Horticulture, and Agricultural Engineering Technology. Agricultural Education students use the farm to help provide occupational experience activities need to meet certification requirements.
The type and extent of instructional use has varied considerably, and will continue to change over the years, but the following table gives a snapshot of instructional usage for both of the laboratory farms in the late 1980’s.
|Course||Number of Students per Quarter||Instructional Activities|
|Intro. to Animal Science||100-150||Livestock management and evaluation|
|Intro. to Horsemanship||24-45||Handling, care and riding of horses|
|Riding Practicums||15||Provide students with additional experience|
|Hunter Keepers||15||Stable mgt., skills and retraining techniques|
|Livestock Judging||20-25||Visual evaluation and comparative judging|
|Light Horse Production||40||Judging, health, breeding and management|
|Advanced Horsemanship||12-30||Advanced care, handling, and western riding|
|Farrier Training||30||Training in horseshoeing|
|Advanced Hunt Seat||15||Advanced care, handling and English riding|
|Dairy Production||40||Hands-on experience in dairy management|
|Dairy Cattle Evaluation||25||Judging and evaluation of dairy cattle|
|Livestock Evaluation||20||Evaluation of beef, sheep and hogs|
|Swine Production||30||Hands-on experience in swine production|
|Beef Production||40||Hands-on experience in beef production|
|Sheep Production||25||Hands-on experience in sheep production|
|Training for the Horse-1||15-35||Training of unbroken horses|
|Training for the Horse-2||15-35||Training for green-broke horses|
|Techniques for Riding-1||10||Teaching techniques for riding|
|Techniques for Riding-2||10||Teaching techniques for riding|
|Advanced Dairy Production||25||Dairy herd management systems|
|Advanced Dairy Cattle Evaluation||20-25||Techniques for dairy cattle evaluation|
|Livestock and Meat Evaluation||20-25||Techniques for livestock and meat evaluation|
|Feedlot Management||15||A study of feedlot systems|
|Artificial Insemination of Farm Animals||20-25||Procedures and mechanics of insemination|
|Intro. to Plant Science||100-120||Supply plant materials for classroom examination|
|Plant and Seed Identification||50||Farm fields to identify crop and weed species|
|Forage Crops||50||Class field trips to view crops|
|Grain Crops||50||View and use demonstration plots|
|Crops Lab||15-20||Harvest plots, calculate yields, moisture, and general crop mgt. policies|
|Agricultural Plant Pest Control||25||Study pest species on diseased horticultural and agronomic plants|
|Horticulture for Garden and Home||20-30||Identification and observation of fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants|
|Plant Propagation||30||Materials utilized for propagation methods|
|Introduction to Horticulture||25-35||Students utilized plant materials from nursery|
|Principles of Landscape Design||40||Instruction in landscaping and ornamental plants|
|Greenhouse Management||20||Greenhouse structure and equipment|
|Ornamental plants||20||Identification and demonstration of cultural practices|
|Vegetable Production||30||Vegetable materials harvested for demonstration plots|
|Small Fruit Crop Production||20||Plant species and cultural practices demonstrated|
|Pomology and Other Tree Fruit Crops||24||Plant species and cultural practices demonstrated|
|Floriculture||24||Foliage and flowering plants used for demonstrations|
|Aboriculture and Management of Ornamental Plants||30||Pruning, preservation, and transplanting of various plants|
|Turf Management||30||Identification, establishment, and maintenance of turf plots|
|Special Problems||4||Plant breeding, nutrition and production|
|Nature and Property of Soils||80||Analysis of soil nutrients and structures|
|Soil Morphology and Mapping||35||Soil survey mapping and interpretation|
|Soil and Water Conservation||45||Soil erosion and management practices|
|Woodlot Management||20||Practice management techniques on forestry site|
|Interpretive Services||20||Outdoor field experience in resource management|
|Master Planning for Recreational Resources||15||Develop rural land use plans|
|Farm Equipment Operation||30-40||Farm equipment operational techniques and skills|
|Agricultural Mechanics||30||Construction Projects|
|Farm Buildings||35||Building design and construction|
|Internal Combustion Engines||40||Equipment repair and diagnostic techniques|
|Small Utility Engines||20||Engine repair and maintenance|
|Solar Energy Systems in Agriculture||35||Instrumentation and design of solar systems|
|Farm Machinery and Power Mechanics||40||Adjustment, operation and maintenance of farm machinery|
|Irrigation Principles and Practices||30||System design and management|
|Design Principles of Agricultural Waste Management Systems||30||Study of alternative waste management systems and techniques|
|Farmstead Engineering||25||Design and instrumentation of controlled environmental systems|
|Farm Utilities||15||Soil evaluations for residential disposal|
|Agricultural Products Processing||25||Techniques of processing agricultural products|
At any given time, there are a number of research projects that utilized the laboratory farms. The following is a list of projects that were underway in the late 1980’s.
• Dairy Breeding. A study involving hormone supplements
• Feeding time and feed quality effect oi sheep
• The effect of adding high fat to sow rations
• Milk Quality. The use of somatic cell count for the detection of mastitis in dairy management
• Corn breeding. Stalk quality effect
• Quackgrass for use as a forage crop
• Temperature monitoring of large, round bales
• Dairy ration top dressing alternatives
• Testing and feeding alternatives in swing rations
• Feeding trials using pelleted rations for lambs
• Alternative methods of storage and feeding large hay blales to ewes
• Alfalfa demonstration plot work on yields and varieties
• Use of whey products in calf rations
• Feed additive alternatives for growing and finishing cattle
• Effect of different methods of alfalfa silage harvest on milk production
• Minimum tillage demonstration and yield plots of corn
• Adaptability of selected fruit crops for Northern Wisconsin
• Feed additive delivered in molasses blocks
• Carcass merits in a range of carcass weights in lambs
• Treated milk replacer in dairy calves
Also in the late 1980’s the College concluded an agreement with the agronomy unit of the Cenex-Land O’ Lakes cooperative in research scientists from Cenex would utilize a portion of crop land on the Mann Valley Farm for applied research to test and evaluate various chemical products that were developed and marketed by the coop. The farm was paid a stipend for rental of the land and also gained the use of some of the Cenex equipment which was used for the plots. This arrangement continues today.