Beef Buzz News
OSU Research Project Progresses in Examining Water Intake in Cattle
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:05:22 CDT
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Dr. Megan Rolf of OSU
Oklahoma State University is part of a million dollar research project that is looking at new ways for agriculture to adapt to climate variability. This project is specifically looking at water efficiency in cattle. The research project is being funded through the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. OSU Assistant Professor Dr. Megan Rolf serves as the Principal Investigator for the project.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Dr. Rolf at the recent Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association annual convention about second year of the research effort. She said the project is allowing researchers to learn about water use by cattle and the amount of variation of water use from one animal to another.
“So that’s one of the unique things about the study, is that instead of using pen data on animals, we can actually dial down to individual animals and understand whether there are big differences in water intake in animals that are performing very similarly in terms of feed intake, or average daily gain, carcass traits, things of that nature,” Rolf said.
The cattle industry has studied feed efficiency for decades and there is a feed efficiency EPD that allows producers to select cattle that are more feed efficient than others. There is still more to learn in terms of water efficiency and that is the goal of this research project in identifying animals that would utilize fewer gallons of water while still maximizing beef production. Through previous projects, researchers have learned genetics play an important role. Rolf said they are trying to determine if those genetic traits exist for water use and if those genetic traits are heritable.
The research project is also partnering with the Oklahoma Mesonet with their “Cattle Comfort Advisor” App. Rolf said they are working to expand the coverage area of the tool, so it can become applicable to producers nationwide.
“So producers outside of Oklahoma will also have the ability to kind of look at predictions of heat stress and cold stress in animals to help them make management decisions before those stressors become an issue,” Rolf said.
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