Internationally renowned for agricultural research, the University of Saskatchewan’s new Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence sets a standard as one of the world’s most advanced livestock research facilities. The facility is located on 15 quarter-sections of land southeast of Saskatoon and includes two research buildings, a 1600-head-capacity feedlot, a 350-unit cow-calf facility, dedicated forage crop research plots, and over 1,200 acres of paddocks for forage grazing studies. The facility supports all aspects of cattle’s life-cycle, including silage production, feed delivery, storage and handling; cattle housing, handling and health; and water supply, manure management, runoff collection and containment, as well as, equipment storage, utility servicing, teaching, research, and industry outreach.
Associated was the engineering lead for essentially every component of the facility, requiring a multi-disciplined team with an expertise in agricultural facilities. Work began in 2013 with the development of the conceptual design of the feedlot and research barn for the Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering. In 2015, the project was approved for senior government funding with a new requirement to also include facilities for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the Western Beef Development Centre. The project proceeded with a tight timeline for detailed design completion. During the design phase, the team participated in approximately 50 working committee and related workshops, with Associated facilitating most of the workshops.
As project managers for design and construction of the facility, the Associated Engineering team addressed the requirements of a large and diverse group of government, industry and academic stakeholders to deliver this technically advanced facility. Project Manager, Doug Thomson, tells us, “Working with the Colleges and the Western Beef Development Centre, we amalgamated industry standards, provincial regulations, and observations from similar facilities, and we listened to the visions of the various researchers to create an integrated and holistic facility that is relevant to the modern beef industry.”
The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence enhances the University’s and province’s reputation as leaders in agricultural research
In November, the Association of Consulting Engineers – Saskatchewan recognized the project with an Award of Excellence for Project Management. The facility was honoured for being a successful showcase of technological advancement and innovation, both in its design to accommodate large, live animals throughout their entire lifecycle, and in its ability to satisfy the requirements of a wide range of researchers.