The East Tennessee Research and Education Center – Johnson Animal Research and Teaching Unit (ETREC-JARTU) is a state-of-the-art facility funded by the University of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The ETREC-JARTU facility contains 31,465 square feet of assignable space, with environmentally-controlled animal rooms with the capability to house cattle, sheep, swine, equine, and poultry. The facility also contains surgery and necropsy rooms, and a feed mill to prepare experimental rations. The Department of Animal Science utilized the ETREC-JARTU surgical facilities and laboratories to conduct research and training students. Environmental chambers to mimic cattle circadian pattern of temperature are available. Records of temperature and humidity can be collected every minute. The chambers are equipped with stalls (6 stalls per chamber) to accommodate Holstein cows. Intake of feed and water can be recorded for each individual animal.
The University of Tennessee supports three separate dairy farms within AgResearch’s Research and Education Centers. The newest dairy research facility (Little River Animal and Environmental Unit) is housed within the East Tennessee Research and Education Center (ETREC). The facility was opened in November, 2011 and features: (1) 250 sand-bedded freestalls divided into 10 replicated pens with 2 smaller pens (2) a double-eight herringbone parlor (Bou-Matic, Madison, WI) with rapid exit, (3) individual animal ids with the ability to record animal weights daily, (4) zoned climate control features, (5) pasture-based housing for dry cows and young stock, (6) individual calving pens, (7) individual hutches for housing up to 50 calves, (8) a gravity flow sand separator, and (9) 6 concrete feed storage bunkers and a feed mixing building. Basic laboratory space, meeting rooms, and offices are located at the facility. This facility is also equipped with an automatic feeding system that enable individual feeding for 48 Holstein cows (American Calan, NH). Two adjacent pens containing 24 calan doors each are part of the freestall barn. Self-propelled mixing and feeding vehicle (Data ranger; American Calan, NH) is part of this system.
The ETREC facility is a modern 4-row, ventilated freestall barn equipped with a new soaker system and fans for cooling. Each of the main housing pens contains 24 deep-bedded sand freestalls (1.2 m wide × 2.4 m long) with open-front lunge space and 32 headlocks (0.6 m wide; Sturdy Built, Reinholds, PA). The flooring within the freestall barn is grooved concrete with the exception of the milk parlor, which uses rubber mats. Each pen is located less than 100 m from the parlor. The HOBO U23 Pro v2 External Temperature/Relative Humidity Data Logger – U23-002 (Onset, Bourne, MA) is placed in this facility to record ambient conditions within the barn At the ETREC facility, bedding management consists of removal of soiled sand during each milking and the addition of fresh sand every other week. Feeding is accomplished via a total mixed ration, which is mixed and delivered daily. Water is available ad libitum from 2 water troughs (Sturdy Built, Reinholds, PA) located at both ends of each pen.