Lyons Farm Facilities

The farm supports facilities for the main animal and crop agricultural enterprises.

Animal Facilities

Dairy

The dairy facilities at Lyons have recently been upgraded to support a 200-cow dairy herd  plus followers (60 in the dairy systems herd and 140 in commercial/research herd) with the latest milking and animal handling facilities. A new calf-rearing house to accommodate the calves produced by the dairy herd and to support research into the early stage nutrition and development is planned to complete the dairy facilities. It will be equipped with state of the art equipment to allow individual feeding and detailed experimentation and sampling.

Beef

The Lyons Farm currently supports an experimental beef rearing facility capable supporting up to 150 beef cattle (heifers, steers or bulls) typically for 3 to 6-month experimental periods. Facilities include races, chutes and pens for access to animals for ultrasound scanning, rectal palpation, sample collection and state-of-the-art equipment to allow individual feeding and detailed experimentation.

Sheep

The Lyons currently supports a flock of 360 ewes and their lambs and has a a series of handling facilities including races, chutes and pens for access to animals for ultrasound scanning, rectal palpation, sample collection and state-of-the-art equipment to allow individual feeding and detailed experimentation.

Pigs

The existing pig housing is currently used to house the research pig herd of up to 200 animals of different ages as required.

Equine

A small herd of 10 mixed light horse breed mares and a teaser pony stallion are maintained at Lyons to support teaching and research within the UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science & the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. Facilities include a 12 stable American Barn complete with two veterinary stocks in addition to a lunging ring and 10-horse automatic horse exerciser. Additional external stabling and a customised equine photoperiod room with 4 stables facilitates environmental light control for specific studies.

Crop Research Facilities

The Lyons Farm has appropriate land (up to 50ha), farm equipment and laboratories to support crop based research and teaching. This included equipment for both large field scale and plot based research.

Long Term Pasture Based Research

The long term pasture plots are utilised to assess the productivity of different pasture types under a beef production system.

Each replicate plot is 1.5ha giving a total of 4.5ha under each pasture type on each soil type. Additional, smaller replicate plots representing the original land use will be incorporated into the design to allow comparison of soil carbon sequestration potential under the different treatments. The total land area utilised is approximately 40ha i.e. 4 pasture types x 3 reps x 2 land use histories x 1.5ha + additional replicated smaller plots representing original land use.

Each of the 1.5ha plots is hydrologically isolated, using a combination of French drains and impermeable membranes on two sides. This allows monitoring of water quality emanating from each treatment plot.

The experimental pastures are grazed by a beef herd. From an animal health and performance perspective, the three replicates of each pasture type form a farmlet, for which all system imports (e.g. feed) and exports (e.g. milk) and performance indicators (economic and environmental) are recorded.