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Our livestock research mission is to study methods of integrating conventional and newer crop production with ruminant livestock enterprises in the Northern Plains to enhance biological and economic sustainability and improve the quality of life.  Our research focuses on the following:

Cow/Calf Production

Research focus is primarily on nutrition and management. Two very different production systems (drylot vs. native pasture) are being compared for economics, biological production and integration with cropping systems.  A  wide variety of feedstuffs, some unique to North Dakota, have been evaluated, including aftermath grazing, crop residue, annual forages, silages, grain, and several different co-products.  Mineral requirements and mineral supplementation for beef cows is being studied. Creep feeding and management of drylot and pasture raised calves before and after weaning is compared. Vertical integration of cow/calf enterprise through finishing feedlot production is evaluated with carcass data included. We have evaluated several different breeds crossed with a Red Angus base cow herd in the past several years. 

Feedlot Research

Growing and finishing studies evaluate the usefulness of the many feeds available in North Dakota.  Management practices for feeding “natural” calves are being evaluated.  Feedlot performance, carcass traits, and taste panel studies are compared.  Feedlot research includes management and husbandry of calves, mitigation of winter weather stress, facilities development for working animals, stabilizing pen surfaces and water fountain styles.  Feeder cattle for feedlot studies are raised on the Research Center, procured from area ranches, purchased from area sale barns, or secured from other Research Centers.  Many research studies are conducted in collaboration with scientists on campus, and at other Research Centers.

Extension Outreach

Feedlot Schools have been held at the Carrington Center since 1996 using a comprehensive two day curriculum to cover all aspects of the feedlot enterprise. Producers from seven states and two Canadian provinces have attended. 

Research information is presented at many livestock producer meetings across the state and region, to commodity groups, industry programs, and at professional meetings.  Several tours are hosted at the Carrington Center each year and we host many visitors who drop in.