The Beef Cattle Center serves as the hub of most beef cattle laboratories for APSC and VMRCVM classes. The Beef Barn serves the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. Teaching, research, and outreach programs in the areas of genetics, physiology, nutrition, herd health, and management of beef cattle. The center maintains registered herds of Angus, Polled Hereford, Charolais, and Simmental cattle, as well as a herd of commercial cows.
Due to limited pasture availability around the beef barn, there are support facilities located a short distance away at the Hoot Owl Woods, the Moore Farm, and the Kentland Farm located 10 miles from the Beef Cattle Center.
2019 Hokie Harvest Sale
Friday, October 25, 2019 6:30pm
Virgina Tech Livestock Judging Pavilion, Blacksburg, VA
Undergraduate students, both B.S. and Associates degree, in the Livestock Merchandising class manage the annual Hokie Harvest Sale. This event allows students to gain experience in organizing and conducting a livestock sale of university-owned beef cattle and horses. Animal handling skills and sale management exercises are performed with both livestock species. Since the first sale in 1995, approximately 1,800 students have gained valuable merchandising experience working on all facets of the sale. Students in the Livestock Merchandising class hear from guest lecturers from the equine and cattle industries and get insight on their professional knowledge of merchandising and marketing, catalog production, presentation of sale animals, and the organization of auctions. Students must serve on one of the committees that are devoted to a specific aspect of the sale such as registration, advertising, catalog and social media, clerking, livestock photography, animal display, food and beverage, decorations, or sale ring.
Proceeds from the sale are re-invested in departmental programs. Over $2.95M have been generated from Hokie Harvest Sales in the 24-year history of this undergraduate course.
The breeding of beef cattle began at Virginia Tech in the early 1900's. Angus cattle were introduced on campus in 1923 with a donation of one bull and three cows from E.L. Hampton of Nashville, Tennessee. At that time, Professor E.L. Hunt and some of the finest cattlemen in the state went out to select cattle that would be suitable for Virginia Tech's beef program. Hereford, Limousin, Gelbvieh, Charolais, and Simmental cattle were added to the campus herd in 1947, 1982, 1986, 1998, and 2000, respectively.
All cows are managed for fall and winter calving. Designed primarily to meet the teaching demands of the department. Students are assigned a pregnant cow, monitors her calving, and assists with the processing and vaccination of the newborn. In addition, most of the registered purebreds are halter-broke by students enrolled in the livestock handling and the beef/sheep production classes. This exercise provides valuable experiences dealing with the animal-human interactions. The livestock evaluation and selection course, which includes the collegiate livestock judging team, utilizes countless numbers of commercial and purebred cattle in the training of students. Nearly 500 undergraduate students in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences frequent the Beef Cattle Center for competitions or class laboratories during their time at Virginia Tech.
All purebred cows are bred by artificial insemination. The bulls that are raised at the Beef Cattle Center are performance-tested and are sold private treaty. Some bulls are consigned to the state Beef Cattle Improvement Association test stations where they are later sold. Several heifers and cow-calf pairs are sold private treaty as well as through consignment sales such as the Virginia Beef Expo Sales, the Southwest Virginia Angus Association sales, area Hereford sales, and the student-managed Hokie Harvest Sale. Virginia Tech also participates in state Charolais and Simmental sales. The commercial herd of 200 cows is AI's twice to proven sires and then pasture-exposed to natural service bulls raised at the Beef Center.
Chad Joines manage the Beef Cattle Center. Chad was hired as beef herdsman when he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1993, and is currently the Director of Beef Cattle Operations. In addition, there are usually 1 to 3 student workers that help out at the Beef Cattle Center. Chad relies on student volunteers to assist with the daily routines at the Beef Cattle Center. Dr. Dan Eversole has been closely involved with the Beef Cattle Center since 1984 and is currently the Director of Beef Cattle Programs.
Directions to The Copenhaver Sheep Center
- I-81 to Exit 118 B
- Rt. 460 W bypass
- From Rt. 460 bypass take Prices Fork Exit
- Turn left on Plantation Road
The Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Center maintains registered Angus, Polled Hereford, Charolais, Simmental, and SimAngus cattle. In addition to the registered cattle, a herd of commercial heifers and cows are maintained to help support the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences mission.
The Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Center is used for various teaching and outreach activities throughtout the year. These activities include:
- Undergraduate Lab Use
- Little International
- Academic Quadrathlon
- Judging Contests and Workouts
- Production Workshops
Beef Cattle Center
Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences
Blacksburg , VA 24061
Beef barn: (540) 231-6280
Campus: (540) 231-4738