What We Do
The Burnett Center is located at the Northeast Lubbock County Field Laboratories, 15 miles north of Lubbock and 6 miles east of the town of New Deal. Construction of this research facility was made possible primarily by private gifts, supplemented by ad valorem taxes. The total facility represents a significant investment by Texas Tech University and the citizens of Texas into the vitally important feedlot industry. In addition, significant educational benefits have been realized from this facility as a result of the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to observe and be involved in ongoing research. Since its completion in 1984, Texas Tech University scientists working at the Burnett Center have contributed extensively to our knowledge of beef cattle feeding and management.
Major research areas have included:
- Factors affecting animal growth and carcass composition.
- Evaluation of nutrient requirements of beef cattle.
- Grain and roughage processing.
Future efforts will include continued studies in these three major areas, with additional emphasis placed on feeding management systems to improve efficiency and sustainability (economic and environmental) of cattle production and nutrition/health interactions in lightweight, stressed beef cattle. Other areas of emphasis include management strategies to decrease the use of antimicrobials in the beef industry and management strategies to decrease liver abscesses in finishing beef cattle.
The Burnett Center feed mill complex consists of two adjoining primary buildings. The first was constructed in 1976 and designed to facilitate the production of completely mixed, all-concentrated diets. The three-level, computer-operated, dust controlled, mixing plant completed in 1984 is a fully automated premix and batch-mixing facility that serves the research feedlot. It was designed to give maximum flexibility in the number of different diet formulations that could be produced in any one-time period. The two buildings have separate inside storage, premix, and bath-mixing capabilities but depend on common grain receiving, grain processing, liquid storage and weighing, and pelleting systems.
The Feedlot has 114 pens with a capacity of four animals per pen. Pen floors are partially slotted concrete. Sixteen conventional, shaded soil-floor pens with a capacity of 16 animals per pen are located adjacent to the 114 slotted-floor pens. In addition, four soil-floor pens located next to these 10 pens are equipped with Calan headgates to allow individual feeding of up to 24 animals. Cattle in the slotted floor pens are fed daily, through the use of a batch-based system, with delivery of feed to pens via a tractor-pulled, 1-ton capacity Rotomix (84-8) feed wagon. Accurate weights of feed ingredients and micro-ingredients mixed in diets are obtained and electronically recorded from stationary scales in the feed mill or on the self-propelled mixer.
The Energetics building is equipped with 12 stanchions. Each stanchion was designed to house cattle ranging in body weight from 227 to 636 kg on rubber mats. The facility has air flow ventilations, LED lights, and a non-slip floor. Energy balance collection supplies include numerous fecal bag harnesses, fecal bags, urine harnesses for steers, urine collection carboys, and a central vacuum line to collect urine from steers. Precision balances that weigh up to 32 kg with a 1 g readability are used for an accurate measurement of total urine and fecal output.
Contact: Kristin Hales, associate professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806)-834-5354 or firstname.lastname@example.org