About Lakeland

Capital Construction

Dairy Learning Centre

rendering of proposal dairy learning centre
Lakeland's Dairy Learning Centre is about more than just teaching our students.

Each element of the state-of-the-art learning facility is designed with education in mind. Hundreds of students throughout Lakeland plus people working in the dairy industry will train in the centre.

Students can also learn about robotic and conventional milking systems, calf management, feed and nutrition, cow comfort, dairy specific software, manure management and more.

Alberta Milk has provided their support to this project. Along with providing the use of additional milk quota as we expand our herd, they've also given valuable input on facility design as well as future courses and training opportunities.

As well, Alberta Milk used funds it received from a Government of Alberta Growing Forward 2 grant to incorporate energy efficient systems and design in the facility [See the drop down for more details].

The total cost of the Dairy Learning Centre is $9.5 million. $8 million of the funding is in place. This includes $3,467,500 in federal funding through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

The remaining $1.5 million will be raised through Leading. Learning. The Lakeland Campaign. Our campaign goal is to modernize our Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland facilities, expand student success, and grow applied research at Lakeland.

Check the drop downs for more information about the project.

The facility and site
  • 120-cow facility with meeting space for 25 people and a public viewing mezzanine.
  • The facility measures 47,000 sq. ft. Its footprint is larger than many private facilities as it is an educational space and includes twice the equipment as standard dairy barns.
  • Heifer barn with outside pens
  • Lagoon for liquid manure storage
  • Commodity shed
  • Two silage bunkers

Site Plan - You may download a PDF version for a better look at the details. Either click on the image, or download from this link Dairy Centre Site plan (PDF)

site plan of proposed dairy learning centre
5 principles in its design

Safe student and industry training

  • Facility conforms to codes for public occupancy
  • Alleyways are larger than those in most private producer facilities
  • Includes emergency lighting and fire detection and suppression systems

Maximize automation and minimize environmental impact

  • Robotic and a conventional parallel milking parlour
  • Automated feed system with robotic delivery
  • Herd navigator technology
  • Water and electricity consumption will be compared between the robotic and conventional milking systems
  • Automatic calf feeders
  • Manure scrapers programmed to run several times a day
  • LED lighting with auto dimming to reflect actual daylight for the time of year
  • Skylight to reduce lighting loads during daylight hours
  • Manure separation system

Transition cow management

  • Stress-free calving line. There will be less movement between groups of cows to minimize hierarchical stress from changing groups.
  • Cows are brought into dairy barn a month before calving
  • Pen gates rather than cows are moved to minimize cow movement
  • Isolation pen for sick cows

Cow comfort and animal care

  • With robotic systems, cows can go for milking on their own up to three times per day provided the computerized system agrees (free-flow)
  • Herd navigator technology monitors herd health through automatic milk sampling
  • Automated systems mean fewer instances of people and equipment disrupting the herd, resulting in lower stress milk production
  • Automated moveable sidewall curtains plus powered air movement with five chimneys helps with ventilation for cow comfort
  • Full length skylight above the feed alley for natural light 

Bio security

  • Staff and students require card readers to enter facility.
  • There is a boot wash/ laundry near the private entrance.
  • Separate public entrance leads into a waiting room
  • Viewing deck plus video feed to waiting room so people can see milking and herd activity without physically being in the space
  • Improved cleaning and manure management
Floor plans
Click on the image to download a pdf with a more detailed view.

Dairy Learning Centre floor plan

Classroom and offices

class room and office dairy learning centre floor plan
Manure Management - Q&A
Q. How will manure from the Dairy Learning Centre be handled?
A. Manure will be moved to a manure separator in the facility to be separated into liquids and solids. Separating solids from liquids reduces odour and is a more environmentally friendly way of handling manure. The liquid manure will be piped into the lagoon and the solids transported to a compost pad. Liquid manure – which is a valuable source of nutrients – will be injected into the soil twice a year. The solids will be used as compost.

Q. What will be the effect of the new manure storage lagoon on residents?
A. The new lagoon will replace the existing dairy lagoon. As the new dairy will be southwest of the current dairy, it will be farther away from residents of the Town of Vermilion. Only liquid manure will be piped from the dairy into the new lagoon and it will not be agitated, a process that contributes to odour.

Odour is expected to be minimal but if the smell becomes an issue a straw cannon will be used to cover the lagoon and reduce odour.

Q. What is the protection for the environment from the lagoon?
A. The lagoon will be lined with an impermeable synthetic liner to prevent leakage. It fills from the bottom, minimizing disturbance and the associated creation of odours.

Q. Are there any controls over odour during manure spreading?

A. Liquid manure is distributed by injection into the ground to minimize odour. There will likely be some odour when compost from the solid manure is spread on agricultural land which is typically done in the spring and the fall.
More renderings and floor plans
Energy Efficient Systems
Energy efficiency elements include:
  • LED lighting with auto dimming
  • full length skylight to reduce lighting loads
  • ventilation efficiencies
  • plate exchanges to lower the temperature of milk from the udder and transfer that heat for other purposes.

Lakeland will share results of these initiatives with producers, students, government and industry.
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