Undergraduate Lab Use
Every student majoring in animal and poultry sciences has some involvement at one time or another with the Beef Center during their undergraduate career. The Beef Center comes in handy for learning a wide range of topics about the beef cattle industry:
- Feeding and Nutrition
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Herd Health and Management
- Facility Design
- Beef Cattle Evaluation and Selection
- Sales and Marketing
Each April, Virginia Tech's Block and Bridle Club hosts the Little International. "Little I" is strictly a showmanship contest that is open to any university student regardless of experience with livestock. Students can show university beef cattle, horses, sheep, and swine.
At the Beef Center, students come out daily to lead their animal and to work on the animal's haircoat. Chad Joines and other Beef Cattle Center workers are available to answer questions and help the students. Little I is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience for students who otherwise may never come in contact with beef cattle. The morning of Little I is always chaotic with 45-60 students washing and fitting their cattle. But the weeks of hard work are worth it if you get crowned Grand Champion Beef Showman.
The academic quadrathalon is open to all students regardless of major. Four-member teams compete against one another testing their knowledge of animal science. One fourth of the lab practical is centered on beef cattle. During the Quadrathalon, students come to the Beef Center to perform exercises in beef quality and yield grading, body condition scoring, hip height/frame score determinations; haltering; measuring scrotal circumference and applying artificial insemination techniques. They also have to identify tools and instruments that are commonly used on beef cattle, label reproductive tracts, and identify grains and hays.
Judging Contests and Workouts
Several times during the year, 4-H, FFA, and collegiate livestock judging teams come to Virginia Tech to schedule “workouts” for local, state, and national judging contests. These young people are able to evaluate the university beef cattle under various production scenarios. Virginia Tech takes pride in being able to display their quality cattle in this manner.
Many times throughout the year, producers and Extension agents use the beef cattle center for educational purposes. Workshops, demonstrations, and exhibits are often set up in order to inform producers and Extension specialists of the newest technologies and advances that the beef cattle industry is making.