OSU Studying Water Efficiency in Beef CattleWed, 11 Jun 2014 11:13:27 CDT
Oklahoma State University has been awarded a million dollar grant by through the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to look at water utilization by beef cattle. Dr. Megan Rolf, animal science assistant professor with OSU's Division of Agriculture talked with Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network about the research project.
"The year we applied to the competitive grants program at USDA, they were looking for projects that were addressing doing to address adapt agriculture to climate variability," Rolf said. "So with a lot of the drought issues that have been going on in Oklahoma and still going on in Oklahoma and a lot of places, we really kinda wanted to look at issues related to utilization of water in the beef industry."
"So our project really focuses a lot measurement of individual animal variation in water intake, Rolf said. "Its a integrated proposal, which is one of the really neat things about USDA in my opinion, is we really get to take our research knowledge and integrate that directly into the cooperative extension service and develop some decision support tools for beef cow producers to use."
The research side focuses on water intake in individual animals.
"We have a really fantastic facility at Oklahoma State University where we can measure individual animal water and feed intake, so we can look at the relationship between water intake, feed intake and how that relates to efficient beef production and we can simultaneous measures look at measures of heat stress in those animals within that facility and really kinda integrate all of that information into looking at how cattle utilize water," Rolf said.
The first phase of the research project will focus on the development of decision support tools.
"So cattlemen have shorter term management focused solution to help them utilize water as a natural resource and then kinda in the longer term how we can develop cattle from genetics and genomics standpoint that use water and feed resources more efficiently," Rolf said.
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