Agricultural Sciences

Dairy Learning Centre - Overview

Lakeland’s Dairy Learning Centre is a  46,600 sq. ft. facility packed with learning opportunities for Lakeland students and the dairy industry.
Along with the facility is a 280-head herd including 120 Holstein milk cows, replacement heifers and young stock.
Key learning areas are:
  • calf management
  • feed and nutrition
  • cow comfort
  • aerial view of Dairy Learning Centre looking north east to the rest of the college farm
  • dairy specific software
  • manure management
While the centre will mostly be used by dairy majors in the animal science technology program, hundreds of other Lakeland students from other agricultural programs will also use the facility for activities such as:
  • studying animal handling systems
  • practicing blood collection procedures
  • experience working with large animals


  • 2 milking systems - conventional and robotic
  • a Lely Vector automatic feeding system that pushes up feed and scans feed bunks every two hours to check the level of feed. If the bunks are low, a new batch of feed is mixed and delivered to the cows. This means the cows are never without fresh feed and improves their milk production
  • feed centre with delivery and push up. Automated kitchen includes four 900 cubic foot Valmetal Comboxes for barley silage, alfalfa hay, grass hay and corn silage. Also a 4 bay commodity shed, 2 bunk silos, two 14 tonne outside bins and 2 indoor micro bins
  • a manure management system that separate liquids and solids –solids are transported to a compost pad and liquids to a lagoon. Also includes alley scrapers.
  • 3 group-housed indoor calf rooms, two house milk-fed calves using an automatic milk feeding system
  • observation deck for public viewing
  • heifer barn with an open front barn with 8 pens including ones specifically for smaller calves
  • a natural ventilation system with fan support – automated side wall curtain and ridge chimney vents
  • classrooms, showers, lockers, boot wash
  • office
5 Design Principles

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
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.
The state-of-the-art Dairy Learning Centre came about through vision and partnerships.
Vision came not only from Lakeland’s leadership, but also from members of the dairy unit of the Student-Managed Farm – powered by New Holland.
Successive dairy teams pointed out the need to replace the 1980s dairy barn. Then they were involved with providing feedback during the design process. Kristyn Child (Class of 2015) suggested the ideal facility for student learning would incorporate both conventional and robotic systems.
And that’s what happened.
Alberta Milk was a key partner in making the centre a reality.
They’ve provided the use of additional milk quota, and funds from the Government of Alberta Growing Forward 2 grant to incorporate energy efficient systems and design in the facility. They’ll continue to provide input on courses and training opportunities​.
Funding for the $9.5 million facility includes $3,467,500 in federal funding through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
Official Opening
8 dignitaries holding ribbon and student cutting at Dairy Learning Centre OpeningLakeland College's Dairy Learning Centre officially opened on August 22, 2017. Industry, community and students were among the visitors for the ribbon cutting. 
Photo:The ribbon cutting included (left to right): Craig Haan, Eagle Builders; Tom Kootstra, chairman of Alberta Milk Board; Darrel Howell, chair of Lakeland Board of Governors; Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education, Josie Van Lent, dean of Lakeland College School of Agricultural Sciences; Kristyn Child, Lakeland Class of 2015 alumnus; Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president and CEO of Lakeland College; Daryl Watt, reeve of County of Vermilion River, and Bruce MacDuff, mayor of Vermilion.
Official Opening Video
The Cows Came Home Video
What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

What Faculty & Staff Say
Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

What Alumni Say
There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
I have loved my experience at Lakeland. The teachers are personable, and quick to share about their own experiences. They encouraged me to run with my own ideas and see what would happen; they got excited about my designs, which gave me the confidence to do my best and be more creative.

– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
All the hands-on learning was great and very helpful once placed into the industry. Having clients leave with a smile after each service assured me that I was in the right field of work. I would recommend Lakeland to anyone.

– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree