Penn State Dairy Herd

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The Shortlidge/Curtin dairy barns built in 1915, located where the Ag Administration building now sits. The shed portion along Curtin housed 60 cows and a milk house. The shed at far right was a manure holding area. The barn along Shortlidge contained areas for hay and grain storage, grinding and mixing facilities, office, locker room and student milker dormitory.

In 1915 all dairy cattle were moved to the newly-built barns located on the site now occupied by the Agricultural Administration building (corner of Curtin and Shortlidge roads).

The structures were of a Swiss-style of architecture and often referred to as the most esthetically pleasing buildings on campus. The outside walls were an off-white stucco, and the roofs were of reddish-colored slate shingles.

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Shortlidge/Curtin dairy barns, built in 1915, at silo-filling time. Immediately behind the silo are the sheds that housed the Guernsey herd, heated baby calf pens, bull pens and overflow animals from the milking herds.

A large weather vane adorned the center cupola and is now on display at the Pasto Agricultural Museum. The main barn included a heated dairy office, locker room, and a dormitory for four student barn workers. It also held the grain and feed storage areas, the grinding and mixing facilities, and a hayloft.

A silo was attached to it on the west end and adjacent to the silo, extending eastward, was the main dairy barn with stalls for 60 cows. The milk house was near the middle of the main barn. Beyond the dairy stable was a manure storage shed.

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The dairy barns, built in 1915, are in the background and to the right are sheds for cows, calves and bulls. The two story structure used by the Animal Nutrition Department and the veterinary hospital is to the far right.

An identical second silo stood on the north end of the barn and to the east was another dairy unit that housed 15 cows and several box stalls. This barn in later years housed the Guernsey herd, and the box stalls were used mainly for cows on "Official Test." It became known as the "Test Barn."

The main structure and the dairy stables were built in a U-shaped design, with the barnyard and the watering troughs in the area between the two wings. Some years later, a shed was added to the end of the Guernsey barn. It housed baby calves and five bull pens (one for each breed) and had additional space where 25 extra cows were kept and milked by hand. In the 1930s several additional silos were added to the complex.

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The dairy barns, built in 1915 and destroyed by fire in 1969.

Nearby, a two-story barn was used by the Department of Animal Nutrition for their research. Just beyond this structure, another separate building housed the veterinary hospital.

In 1953 the herd again moved to new facilities that were, at that time, on the edge of the campus and close to the present location of Beaver Stadium. This Dairy Center provided a barn for each of the five breeds, a main office building for the herd manager and supervisors, and an upstairs dormitory for the student workers.

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Built in 1951-52, these dairy barns were located across the fields from the football stadium. There were five barns, each housing a single breed of dairy cows and each constructed with a different plan so as to evaluate different ventilation systems, barn feeding and cleaning systems, open and closed housing, feed storage methods and different milking systems. The building in front housed offices, student dorms, a repair shop, large farms scales and an arena.

A small pavilion connected to the office building was used for instruction, demonstrations, and judging practice. Most all of these buildings and a number of support structures (silos, etc) are now used as research units or as offices and storage facilities.

In 1995 new facilities at the Dairy Center became operational. They include a free-stall barn, a tie-stall barn (both housing milking cows), a free-stall heifer barn, and new milking parlor facilities. Currently, the herd consists of 220 milking Holsteins and 130 heifers that support the teaching and research programs of the Dairy and Animal Science Department.

Author: Donald L. Ace, Professor of Dairy Science