Animal Sciences
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Research laboratories and facilities

The Department of Animal Sciences houses well-equipped laboratories, and has access to animal facilities and two experimental farms that are used for both undergraduate training and postgraduate research. Collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, other tertiary institutions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector is maintained by the Department of Animal Sciences to ensure that research is current and relevant to the various animal production industries.


Laboratory facilities and Animal housing unit

The various in-house laboratories are well equipped to conduct analyses of the most common nutrients such as energy, protein, ADF and NDF fibre, amino acids and minerals, as well as physical and chemical properties in wool and meat. An animal housing facility is conveniently located adjacent to the Department and allows for the execution of short-term nutrition trails. In addition to this, the department has access to animal resources maintained on the two experimental farms, Welgevallen and Mariendahl, which allows the Department to conduct world-class and industry-related research.  The animal resources are also used for the training of undergraduate students in general animal husbandry principles and practices.


In addition to its in-house laboratories, the Department also utilize the services provided by the Central Analytical Facility (CAF), which was established to provide and maintain large equipment that cannot be housed within the Department. The CAF consists of specialized research units and employs specialized scientists that are involved in every aspect of the day-to-day operation of the respective units that allows the Department to conduct research that would otherwise not be possible.


Experimental farms

The two experimental farms, Welgevallen and Mariendahl, serves as field laboratories that are used primarily for the training of undergraduate students, as well as research sites where several multi-disciplined projects are conducted under controlled conditions. The farms are managed in a way that simulates the practical conditions on commercial farms in the various agricultural industries.


Welgevallen Experimental Farm

Welgevallen was purchased in 1917 with the establishment of the Faculty of Agrisciences, specifically because it was a condition that an experimental farm had to be within walking distance of the campus. Its original size was 278 ha, of which only 120 ha is currently available for research purposes. The Department of Animal Sciences has access to the on-farm world-class research facilities, which includes a recently modernized dairy, and embryo production centre, nutrition research facilities, as well as an aquaculture research section.  The department also maintains a highly productive Friesian herd and a small sheep flock that is used for training, as well as research purposes. The well-equipped nutrition research facilities allows for the execution of intensive nutritional research on large and small ruminants. 


Enquiries pertaining to the Welgevallen Experimental Farm

Willem van Kerwel

Experimental Farm Manager

Tel: +27 21 808 4870



Mariendahl Experimental Farm

Mariendahl is 375ha in size, and is located adjacent to the Elsenburg Experimental Farm, approximately 14km outside Stellenbosch. The farm accommodates research facilities for poultry and pig research, and facilities for aquaponic research are planned for the future. The Poultry Research Unit include laying houses for 7000 layers, mechanically ventilated broiler and pullet rearing houses, feed mixing and pelleting facilities, a small scale abattoir and a hatchery.


The animal resource includes a Simmentaler herd, a Döhne Merino flock, and a South African Mutton Merino flock. The farm also hosts the Terra Vino stud, which breeds world-class genetics that is made available to the industry on an annual auction. The facilities are used for the training of undergraduate students from Stellenbosch University and the Cape Institute for Agricultural Training, as well as for industry-driven research.


Enquiries pertaining to the Mariendahl Experimental Farm

John Morris

Tel.: +27 21 884 4460