The Lauren Christian Swine Research Center at the Iowa State University Bilsland Memorial Farm near Madrid will be dedicated on May 8.

"Lauren Christian conducted much of his research at the Bilsland Farm and it is appropriate that the research center be named in his honor," says Maynard Hogberg, chair of the Iowa State animal science department.

The late Lauren Christian, a native of LaPorte City, Iowa, was a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in animal science. He was an internationally recognized expert in swine genetics, well-known teacher and the first director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State. A university faculty member for 33 years, Christian also was a consultant for private and corporate firms associated with pork production. He died in 1998.

The public is invited to the dedication, which begins at 1:30 p.m. There will be an open house and tour of the new Baird Swine Breeding and Gestation Facility.

The Bilsland Memorial Farm, a gift from the Harold Bilsland family originally of Boone County, was established in 1959. The farm became part of the animal science department in the 1970s and has a history of significant contributions to the pork industry. It was the home of a group of imported Chinese pigs and research supporting the National Swine Genome project.

Researchers at the farm study swine breeding, genetics, management, behavior, physiology and meat quality. Additionally, Iowa State's agricultural engineers use the farm for class tours, demonstrations of manure handling systems and environmental studies.

Due to budget cuts, the Iowa State's agriculture college closed the Lauren Christian Swine Research Farm near Atlantic in 2003 and relocated the research to the Bilsland site. Since then the Bilsland Farm's outdated buildings from the 1950's have been updated and replaced.

Two new hoop buildings for sows have been erected and the Baird breeding and gestation facility was recently completed. The Baird facility has a state-of-the-art manure-management system that automatically removes manure from the building and separates the liquid from the solids, which can then be composted.

"The manure-handling system is a unique system that can address odor issues with swine operations. The system will provide more flexibility in handling and utilizing manure from swine systems with gas and odor emissions greatly reduced compared to conventional systems" Hogberg says.

The facility provides research space for breeding and gestation stalls; gilt development pens; boar development and collection pens; semen processing and artificial insemination. The breeding gestation facility is designed to study differences in housing between gestation stalls, gestation pens on slatted floors and gestation pens in hoop structures. Research will be conducted to evaluation performance, behavior and management schemes for these types of gestation systems.

The Bilsland Memorial Farm and the Lauren Christian Swine Research Center are located 4 miles south of Luther on Highway 17 and east 3/4 mile on 310th Street (north side of the road). Or from the intersection of Highways 17 and 210 in Madrid, go 2 miles north on Highway 17 and 3/4 miles east on 310th Street.

Source: Iowa State University