OSU Researching Water Consumption In CattleThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:21:18 CDT
Water is a valuable resource and Oklahoma State University will be looking at ways the cattle industry can reduce it water demands. OSU recently received a million dollar research grant from the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to look at water utilization by beef cattle. 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 research project. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear today's Beef Buzz.
The cattle industry has worked for decades on feed usage and feed intake, but research on water usage has been limited. Rolf said there was a research project back in the 1950s and 60s that collected individual animal water intake on small number of animals. Recently there has been some recent work on water consumption of animals in large feedlots, but that has been based on group of animals.
"One of the unique things about our study that has been enabled by the Instatech facility that we've got out at the Willard Sparks beef research center is that we can actually collect individual animal water intake on a really large number of animals," Rolf said.
The OSU research project is focused on natural resource usage in terms of feed efficiency, water-use efficiency and water as a economically important use. Rolf said they have found the animal that drank the most drank about three times as much water on a daily average as the animal that drank the least.
This could lead to more producers selecting cattle based on water consumption similar to docility or carcass traits. Rolf said this could be important information for producers in southwestern Oklahoma who have dealt with wells drying up, which has put their ability water their cattle in jeopardy. She believes there is opportunity to try and develop those animals efficient with those resources. The research project will aim to look at both intake as well as cattle performance.
"We need to look a little bit more at the performance and the intake, but I think there is certainly some opportunity there for producers," Rolf said.
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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