PROGRESSIVE PRODUCER LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
STATEWIDE RESEARCH SPECIALISTS SERVE RANCHERS by California Beef Cattle Impovement Association Board Member Tracy Schohr This article is the first in a series of articles to showcase the individuals within the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) that serve as technical advisors to ranchers across the state and highlight their technical expertise. This first article will serve as an overview of Cooperative Extension and feature the statewide specialists that are housed at University of California, Davis (UC Davis). For over a century, UCCE has worked with local community members, including ranchers, to develop and provide science-based information to solve economic, agricultural production and natural resources issues. Today, there is a network of over 380 UCCE advisors and specialists located throughout California. These individuals serve as experts to media outlets, elected officials, public land managers and regulatory agencies. Healthy Animals The Animal Science Department at the UC Davis is home to UCCE Specialists that serve California’s ranchers and feedlot industry. The specialists cover a myriad issues concerning livestock production, nutrition and genetics. If you have questions regarding nutrition for your cattle, UCCE Specialist Peter Robinson, Ph.D., can be a resource. His research has focused on cattle nutritional management and developing ration evaluation software. Robinson has collaborated with county UCCE advisors to explore the ability to utilize rice straw as a livestock forage, along with studying the nutritional value of various other agricultural by products. A resource for beef cattle producers on genetic issues is Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D. She focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her research is centered on animal genomics, biotechnology, genetic engineering and cattle breeding. Van Eenennaam’s current research projects include selection for cattle that are less susceptible to bovine respiratory disease, identifying fertility genetic markers in beef cattle and software to manage recessive genetic conditions in mating decisions.
22 California Cattleman September 2015
She is also looking at the use of applied reproductive technologies in beef cattle production, approaches to use precise genome editing in cattle breeding and a project to sequence and identify novel antigenic proteins in the bacteria that causes foothill abortion. Jim Oltjen, Ph.D., serves as the UCCE Animal Management Systems Specialist. During his tenure as a specialist he has worked on a variety of topics important to ranchers. Today, his primary focus is on building computer decision support software and strengthening the Beef Quality Assurance Program, along with developing standardized performance analysis for cattle and sheep ranches. The California Beef Cattle Improvement Association works closely with specialists Van Eenennaam and Oltjen who serve as advisors. Their unmatched efforts have brought international conferences, renowned technical seminars and workshops to California ranchers on topics centered on animal health and genetics. Most recently, Van Eenennaam hosted hundreds for the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Conference at UC Davis in August. Healthy Environments UC Davis is home to UCCE Specialists that serve California’s beef industry on environmental topics. These specialists work to address a board range of topics balancing prosperous livestock production operations, natural resources management objectives and creating healthy communities. Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., is a UCCE Specialist focused on livestock systems air quality, along with quantification and mitigation of agricultural air pollutants. Mitloehner has conducted extensive research on air quality, specifically looking at dust emission and microbial sampling in feedlot settings. He also studies the impacts of heat stress on livestock and studies animal behavior. Mitloehner’s work aims to improve California’s air quality by identifying pollutant sources and mitigating air quality impairments. ...CONTINUED ON PAGE 24