The Dairy Research Facility at Miner Institute has 272 free stalls in four pens that can be divided into eight pens with 34 free stalls. We have a current lactating herd of about 325 cows; they are milked in a double-twelve parallel parlor. The pit of the milking parlor provides an ideal location for the evaluation of udder and leg hygiene. Sort gates within the return alley allow for the collection of body weights, body condition scores, and locomotion scores during the return to each pen from the milking parlor.
The dairy barn was designed to accomodate the collection of behavioral data. There is a surveillance camera system to collect video data using a total of 12 cameras - six cameras are mounted in the periphery of each pen to record activity within the free stalls, and six cameras are mounted above the feed bunk to record cows feeding. In addition, an elevated walkway runs the length of the facility, and allows for direct visual observation of all pens. The barn and milking parlor were constructed in 2004 with an emphasis on maximizing cow comfort. The research area of the barn contains all the necessary equipment for the preparative work and storage of the serum, fecal, milk, and feed samples collected.