Mann Valley Farm

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.

Mann Valley Farm 1985

Mann Valley Farm 1985

Ariel View 1987

Ariel View 1987

Mann Valley Farm

Mann Valley Farm

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.

Beef Operation
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.

Swine Operation
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.

Sheep Operation
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
Welding 25 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.

Lab Farm Locations

Lab Farm Locations


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