Animal Science Department

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Facilities & Centers: Ranches

Photograph of cows in a field and Cal Poly hills

Peterson and Serrano Ranches

The Peterson and Serrano ranches cover approximately 1,500 acres of Poly Canyon. Each fall, the Serrano Ranch is used to calve out the later-calving herd. The rest of the year, the herd is rotated through Peterson and Serrano Ranches using the rest-rotational grazing method. Because the ranches are located immediately adjacent to campus, students are able to visit these ranches during class.

Escuela and Walters Ranches

The Escuela and Walters ranches encompass approximately 2,500 acres of native rangeland located eight miles north of Cal Poly’s campus. Here, Cal Poly’s early-calving cows are calved, embryo-transfer recipients are housed, and restoration research and projects are conducted. The ranches are also grazed by over 100 of Cal Poly’s herd, managed by the students of the Escuela Cow-Calf Enterprise.

Chorro Creek Ranch

The Chorro Creek Ranch is a resource used by both the Animal Science Department and the Crop Science Department. The Animal Science Department uses this ranch to graze their heifers both before and immediately after calving. The ranch is also used for the department’s farm operations.

Swanton Pacific Ranch

The Swanton Pacific Ranch was donated to the Cal Poly College of Agriculture by Al Smith, founder of Orchard Supply Hardware. While numerous departments take advantage of the 3,200-acre rangeland, the Animal Science Department manages the grazing operations located there. Each February, 500 stocker cattle are brought from Hawaii to graze at the ranch and are managed by the Swanton Pacific Enterprise. In addition, student interns manage a herd of grass-fed cattle for production at Cal Poly’s meat processing facilities. Besides grazing cattle, the ranch manages organic cropland and a redwood forest.

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