Published: Aug. 14, 2009

New dairy facility adds to MSU’s KBS research portfolio

Contact(s): Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561, Mark Fellows Media Communications office: (517) 884-0166

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Creation of the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station pasture-based dairy is a logical extension of the strong tradition of ecological research at KBS. Integration of row-crop, dairy and biofuel production research programs at the MSU research facility on Gull Lake in Kalamazoo County’s Hickory Corners provides a unique opportunity to examine agriculture from an integrated, whole-system perspective.


The new dairy research and education facility complements other sustainable agricultural and natural resource research programs at KBS, including:


KBS is home to one of the National Science Foundation’s 26 Long-Term Ecological Research sites. Research at the KBS LTER site examines how biodiversity – plants, animals and microbes in agricultural landscapes – contributes to farm productivity, environmental performance and profitability. Read more at:


The KBS Living Field Lab was established in 1993 and was designed to investigate the benefits of leguminous cover crops – so-called green manure – and composted dairy manure in two integrated systems compared to conventional and organic agricultural systems. Results over the past 14 years show that cover crops grown in a diverse crop rotation and the addition of composted dairy manure can increase soil organic matter and reduce crop nitrogen fertilizer requirements, while still supporting desirable crop yields. Read more at:


The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is one of three national centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct transformational biofuels research. The GLBRC is exploring scientifically diverse approaches to converting various plant feedstocks into liquid transportation fuels and also is collaborating with agricultural researchers and producers to develop the most economically viable and environmentally sustainable practices for bioenergy production.  Read more at:

Global warming and invasive species research – MSU plant evolutionary ecologist and KBS researcher Jennifer Lau contends that applying community genetics to invasion biology provides a broader understanding about what’s happening when different genotypes interact with a common environment. A more complete understanding of the invasion process may help prevent future destructive invasions and also may aid in ensuring the success of intentional introductions for production agriculture or biological control. Read more at:

Nutrient management in lakes and streams – MSU aquatic ecologist and KBS scientist Steve Hamilton recently studied nine streams that flowed through cities, forests and agricultural land in the Kalamazoo River watershed of southwestern Michigan as part of a nationwide team seeking to understand what happens to the nitrogen that is washed into the water. The results provided the most comprehensive understanding yet of how the complex network of rivers and streams naturally process nitrogen from the waters before it ends up causing trouble downstream. Read more at:



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Researchers at Michigan State Universitys Kellogg Biological Station have installed a robotic milking system. Robotic Milkers may allow Michigan dairy farmers to reduce costs and increase profits.

Researchers at Michigan State Universitys Kellogg Biological Station have installed a robotic milking system. Robotic Milkers may allow Michigan dairy farmers to reduce costs and increase profits.

A new superpower on the horizon. Michigan State University scientists look to the sun to solve Earth's biggest problems. Read our paid post on the New York Times site