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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Experimental Facility

Some activities at the Dairy Production Experimental Facitities

The Pegase research unit has an experimental facility for milk production in Méjusseaume, available for the scientific community.

Context and ambition

At the Dairy Production Experimental Facilities, experiments are carried out to evaluate and develop new technologies and farming practices to meet the expectations of the industry, consumers and citizens.

Experimental means are made available to Inrae scientists and external partners and can be adapted according to the needs of scientists to evaluate different production and nutritional strategies for the dairy herd, the environmental impact of livestock production and on mile quality.

The experimental dairy herds consist of Holstein cattle and Alpine goats. These species possess interesting differences in terms of lactation physiology to better understand the functioning of the mammary gland. They are also the two most important species for milk production in France.


The experimental dairy production facilities offer a quality partnership to carry out animal experiments:

  • Adaptable according to user needs and the developments of new research technologies
  • Reliable with the implementation of the quality assurance in research program, at defined by the Inrae repository
  • And concerned about animal welfare and ethics in animal experimentation

Expertise and skills

The experimental facilities are unique because they allow, for both dairy cattle and dairy goats, to make the link between physiological approaches to understand the mechanisms of milk production and their application through farming practices for animal husbandry.

Physiological approaches

Physiological approaches

An experimental unit for animal physiology and metabolism equipped with 5 modular rooms to carry out experiments with dairy cattle and goats.

  • In this unit, it is possible to carry out studies on the dynamics of feeding behavior, digestion, physiology and metabolism of the digestive tract and mammary gland. Surgery rooms and a skilled team of technicians can perform specific actions for these studies
  • Possibilities to continuously monitor animals (temperature, pH, animal behavior, heart rate, blood flow) depending on the experimental program
  • It is also possible to measure gas emissions on animals and their litter while simulating different housing conditions
Zootechnical approaches
Zootechnical approaches

Experimental barns with a total capacity of 150 dairy cows and 150 dairy goats allow to carry out experiments under practical conditions to study the relationship between feeding and husbandry practices on milk quality, animal health and reproduction.

In these facilities, it is possible:

  • To distribute to individual animals a large number of different rations in complex experimental designs allowing to study and develop diets according to specific research goals
  • To evaluate feed intake in individual dairy cattle (96 places) with different rations
  • To characterize in detail milk production characteristics through automated data acquisition (milk production, milking flow rate, milking duration) as well as milk composition in specially-equipped milking parlors
  • To weigh the animals several times daily through an automated weighing system

Grazing experiments

Grazing experiments

Feeding dairy cattle through grazing is a major challenge for ruminants (product quality, welfare, environment, landscape, protein autonomy, sustainability). However, conducting grazing experiments is very complex in an external environment, and which is subject to changing conditions.

The team has the skills and the tools to carry out specific studies to control and to characterize the grassland, its nutritional value, its conduct and pasture type. Techniques are available and can be adapted to carry out measurements on grazing animals (outside monitoring, digestion, measurement of feed intake).


Members of the Dairy Production Experimental Facitities
Head. IEPL
Philippe Lamberton

Team leader
Phone: (+33) 2 23 48 51 07
Mail : Philippe Lamberton


  • Philippe Lamberton


  • Valentin Avignon
  • Marine Bouhours
  • Gaël Boullet
  • Adeline Chauvin
  • Ophélie Dhumez
  • Jérémy Eslan
  • Antoine Eveno
  • Mathieu Guilloux
  • Jean-Luc Harel
  • Aline Le Croizier
  • Antoine de Miniac
  • Arnaud Mottin
  • Joseph Orinel
  • Jean Parois
  • Jean-Yves Thébault

See also

The Saint-Gilles location also accommodates the Experimental Swine Research Unit (UEPR), conducting experiments in pigs for Pegase and for other public and private partners.