USDA Awards Grant to Study Water Efficiency In Cattle ProductionFri, 29 Aug 2014 12:26:48 CDT
Earlier this year Oklahoma State University received a million dollar grant from the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to look at climate change in cattle production. Lead researcher Dr. Megan Rolf, animal science assistant professor with OSU's Division of Agriculture talked with Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network about the multi year research project. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear today's Beef Buzz.
"The first thing we start out with is just following the Beef Improvement Federation guidelines on feed intake trials," Rolf said. "So we take them in there, we a acclimate them to the facility we make sure they learn to use the watering system and the bunk system where the feed is."
The cattle will spend 21 days adjusting to the facility before the trial begins. Rolf said for the next 70 days OSU will measure the amount of weight the cattle gain, the amount of water drank, and the amount of feed eaten during that 70 day period.
To date research on water usage by cattle has been limited. OSU's Willard Sparks beef research center is equipped with Instatech, which allows researchers to collect individual animal water intake on a large number of animals. Rolf said the first step will be understanding those relationships, then using that information to determine how to manage cattle better and how genetics or genomics could be used to make progress in more efficiently using natural resources.
OSU will be working with the Oklahoma Mesonet in developing decision support tools for producers. Rolf said the research grant will provide funding to expand the Cattle Comfort Index nationally, along with developing some tools related to demand for water resources and ways producers can utilize water more efficiently.
Through this research project OSU will be collecting weather data at the same time. Rolf said it will take some time to take that information, compile it and turn into information that producers can use on their farm.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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