Tag Archives: DASC

New dairy complex boosts industry

Dairy Science Complex — Kentland Farm

Dairy Science Complex at Kentland Farm.

Virginia’s dairy industry is valued at more than $480 million and is the state’s third most valuable agricultural commodity.

To serve this industry, Virginia Tech researchers and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists work in concert to provide the most current and relevant knowledge to producers around the state.

Now, they have a new state-of-the-art dairy facility where they can help the industry grow
even more.

This summer, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences completed construction of the $14 million Dairy Science Complex – Kentland Farm.

“The new facilities provide great opportunities for students desiring a hands-on, experiential education, and they will also allow the faculty to conduct innovative research that is important for the dairy industry,” said Alan Grant, dean of the college.

Features of the high-tech facility include an 11,900-square-foot milking parlor with a double-12 parallel milking system and computerized milk-monitoring system, a 46,000-square-foot freestall barn where the 232 milking cows will be housed, a modern waste management system, a special-needs heifer barn, and a preweaned calf facility.

This first phase of construction was funded by Virginia Tech with nongeneral funds. The Virginia General Assembly has approved $7.6 million in funding for Phase II of the dairy complex, which will include a demonstration facility located near Plantation Road, an applied reproductive physiology facility adjacent to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and an intensive metabolism research facility at the Kentland Farm complex.

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Healing equine injuries with help from stem cells

Middleburg AREC; horses / mare and foalWhen a horse has a tendon or ligament injury, the results can be career-ending. A researcher at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is searching for the best way to use stem cells derived from fat to stimulate the natural repair mechanisms in horses with these types of injuries.

“Stem cells can be used for any type of tissue repair, but my work specifically deals with tendons and ligaments,” explained Dr. Linda Dahlgren, associate professor of large animal surgery in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. “We use stem cells from adipose, or fat, tissue because it is readily available in any species, it is easy to harvest, and, when cultured, it expands faster than cells derived from bone marrow.”

Stem cells, unspecialized cells that are part of the body’s repair system, are capable of reforming damaged tissues. Regenerative medicine researchers like Dahlgren can harvest stem cells from a horse’s healthy cells and inject them directly into damaged tissues, and they have more than one way of doing this.

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