Animal Production Systems Management

David K. Beede, Professor and C. E. Meadows Endowed Chair
Principal Investigator, Meadows Laboratory

The C. E. Meadows Chair promotes scholarly research, extension and teaching in response to the needs of the Michigan dairy industry. Activities embrace and support the Land Grant mission of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and MSU. The Chair provides intellectual leadership to the MSU faculty as well as the dairy industry of the state in a broad area encompassed under dairy management. The Chair supports and integrates contributions of both the biological and economic disciplines for efficient and environmentally sustainable dairy production. Current research objectives are:

  1. to determine biological strategies and whole-farm systems approaches to increase the efficiency of utilization and reduce excretion of phosphorus (P) by dairy cattle;
  2. to determine if varying dietary P concentrations in prepartum diets affects peripartum health and productive performance, and P excretion by dairy cattle;
  3. to develop and test management and nutritional strategies for pregnant dairy cows to improve transition performance;
  4. to test the validity of the approach to establish the maintenance requirement for absorbed P for ruminating dairy animals (NRC, 2001);
  5. to determine if prepartum exercise of dry pregnant cows is efficacious to improve postpartum performance as indicated by metabolic adaptations, bone metabolism, periparturient health, and lactation and reproductive performance; and
  6. to develop and integrate whole-farm systems models to optimize productive, environmental and economic management of dairy businesses.

Daniel Buskirk, Associate Professor

Our research focuses on nutritional management of beef systems. Current research includes manipulating carcass traits by feeding regimen, and identifying factors affecting proliferation and differentiation of bovine preadipocytes. This will provide insight necessary to exploit developmental differences in adipose tissue depots through nutrition and management. The ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of consumer-driven beef products. Additional areas of research include calf weaning systems that reduce stress and improve gain, stocker cattle management strategies that optimize feed use, and cow feeding systems that improve forage utilization.

Gretchen Hill, Professor

Understanding the role of trace element nutrition in livestock from the basic nutrient utilization and conservation to the molecular basis is the encompassing goal of our laboratory. Our current research objectives are to:

  • Determine the molecular role of pharmacological zinc in enhancing growth of the nursery pig
  • Investigate cellular iron homeostasis in swine by determining the role of iron regulatory proteins
  • Reduce the amount of trace elements excreted by livestock while maintaining efficient production
  • Provide new insights on selenium needs of cows and their calves relative to thermo energy regulation and ultimately health
  • Understand trace element interactions and their affect on health
  • Determine status indicators and parameters that influence the trace element requirements of reproducing females in livestock herds

Dale W. Rozeboom, Professor

Our research activities are focused on generating information needed by swine producers in order to enhance their economic opportunities and in dealing with the increasing social and environmental pressures being placed on their businesses. Thus, our work is in the areas of nutrition, reproduction, behavior and the management of production systems. We are currently studying the environmental and biosecurity risks of animal tissue recycling using composting, the effect of pre-farrow feed intake on sow reproduction, sow response to varied feeder design in lactation and the use of dietary fiber to modify the growth pattern of pre-pubertal gilts.

Steven Rust, Professor
Ruminant Nutrition Laboratory

Our research activities have been focused on feeding and management strategies to improve growth, efficiency and carcass quality of feedlot cattle. We have conducted several studies on the use of Propionibacterium as a starter culture for ensiling high-moisture corn and its use as a direct-fed additive to feedlot diets. Dr. rust is a co-author for two patents on this technology. Another area of current research includes feeding and management strategies to lessen the occurrence and severity of acidosis in cattle fed high concentrate diets. Probiotics or direct-fed microbials may provide some assistance in managing subacute acidosis. Studies are currently being conducted to develop strategies to minimize methane production in cattle. Various inhibitor type compounds have been investigated. The impact of implants, age and cattle type on profitability, tenderness and palatability is also a current research activity. Evaluation of corn hybrids and endosperm types in relation to protein supplementation strategies is currently under investigation. Other research topics include: receiving programs for newly received cattle, use of byproduct feed in high concentrate diets, use of repartitioning agents and growth-promoting implants on carcass quality, and protein nutrition. Many of the research projects utilize live animals in growth or metabolism studies.

Miriam S. Weber Nielsen, Associate Professor
Ruminant Metabolism Laboratory
Larry Chapin, Research Technician

Our research program focuses on identifying hormonal and nutritional factors that regulate growth and development of the bovine mammary gland. The emphasis of our current work is on evaluating development of the mammary gland in growing heifers and in response to changes in nutritional management. The laboratory also conducts work to identify factors that regulate proliferation of mammary epithelial cells in vitro. Research involves a variety of techniques including cell culture, immunocytochemistry, RT-PCR, cDNA microarrays, Northern blotting, Western blotting, ELISA, radioimmunoassay and others. The overall goal of our research is to identify strategies to more efficiently raise and manage dairy heifers to be productive lactating cows.