Lauren Christian Swine Research Center
The Lauren Christian Swine Research Center had its beginning in the mid 1950's when the Bilsland family gave approximately 240 acres of land to Iowa State University, with the stipulation that it be used for agricultural research. In 1959 and 1960, the first buildings to specifically house swine were built under the direction of the Department of Energy and ISU.
Renaming of the Bilsland Memorial Farm to the Lauren Christian Swine Research Center took place May, 2007 with a dedication ceremony. Visitors will see new hoop buildings for sows and the Baird breeding and gestation facility which has a state-of-the-art manure management system.
The Lauren Christian Swine Research Center is a farrow-to-finish operation with 300 sows producing approximately 625 litters per year.
Faced with increased rendering costs of more than $2500/yr (for 2 pickups per week), managers of the farm decided to build a mortality composting facility during the spring of the year 2000.
The composter consists of 6 composting bins (3 primary and 3 secondary bins) and 2 storage bins for the woodchip cover material. Bins are 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep, and are designed to be loaded to a depth of 5 feet. The composter was constructed entirely by contractors and is a 24 feet x 40 feet post-frame metal-clad structure with 2 foot overhangs. The minimum clearance to allow for loading equipment was specified as 10 feet, 7 inches. The entire structure has a 5-inch concrete floor with poured bin walls that are 6 inches thick. A 10-foot concrete apron provides an all-weather surface at the entrance to each bin.