The Beef Education Center is home to the Dairy & Agriculture Foundation’s beef herd. Constructed in 2016, the monoslope barn holds 100 mature cattle in six state-of-the-art housing units. The facility also includes a hydraulic working chute to optimize care when handling animals and a viewing area for visitors to learn more about beef.
Beef Education Center Viewing Area
The viewing area serves multiple purposes for both students and visitors alike. During the school year, NICC students, faculty, and guest speakers use the space to prepare for labs and working cattle. Visitors can visit the viewing area to catch a glimpse of the working chute and learn more about beef cattle. Floor-to-ceiling graphics provide information on the beef industry from gate to plate, including cow-calf, backgrounding, feedlot and processing.
Did you know? In Iowa, there are more beef cattle than people.
See for yourself: The Beef Education Center viewing area is open for visitors daily from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Feedlot Market Cattle
The monoslope barn, constructed in 2016, features six housing units for 100 plus head of market cattle in various stages of finishing. Both purebred beef and crossbred dairy/beef animals are fed to ideal market weight and sent to market locally. Ideally, market cattle are harvested at 18-22 months of age and weigh 1,200-1,400 pounds. The monoslope is designed to allow safe and efficient handling and moving of animals to and from the working chute.
Did you know? Feedlot market cattle have an average daily gain of over two pounds.
The Beef Education Center is home to the Dairy & Agriculture Foundation's beef herd. Currently, there are approximately 15 mature breeding females in the herd with plans to grow in the future. The herd features Angus, Red Angus and Simmental breeds and the cows are registered with their respective associations. The herd is a fall calving herd. Cows and calves are grazed in the nearby pasture in the spring, summer and into the fall.
Did you know? There are 700,000 beef cattle farms and ranches in the United States producing 19 percent of the world's beef. The average herd size of 40 cattle.
The working chute area provides a safe and effective space to work cattle; it reduces stress for everyone involved, including the cattle. The chute features a holding area and a curved tub to move animals of all sizes to the chute and head gate. The hydraulic system operates the chute and offers a variety of safe methods to work cattle, including functions like squeezing, a neck stretcher, a head gate and a tail gate. There's also a scale to weigh each animal.
See for yourself: The chute is visible from the Beef Education Center Viewing Area. Depending on the time, visitors may be able to watch cattle being worked through the chute from the viewing area.
Did you know? Once harvested, more than 98% of the beef animal is used with 60% going to products other than beef. One cowhide can make 20 footballs.