Ruminant Nutrition

Cattle in the field grazing

Peta-Gaye Clachar

The Ruminant Nutrition program has focused on several general areas. One of the greatest efforts has been to explore the utilization in finishing diets of byproducts from the grain milling industry. The focus has been to use animal feeding and metabolism studies to develop practical applications as well as a basic nutritional understanding of these products. Other areas of research include the evaluation of diet formulation on environmental issues, beef systems, technologies for the feedlot industry, growth promoting hormone implants, and mineral nutrition of beef cows. Undergraduate employment includes E. coli research and lab jobs; cleaning pens, feeding, mixing feeds, and routine animal care; assisting with graduate and faculty research; data analysis of feed samples and weighing; sample collection; U-CARE projects; and feedlot employee positions.


Environmental Research

  • Waste management research studies how to manage and compost livestock manure and utilize it to fertilize cropland. Additional work on controlling methane has also been conducted.
  • Work is being done to modify cattle diets to reduce the amount of phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen in cattle waste.

E. coli Research

  • E. coli is being researched and work with Vet Science investigates ways to reduce E. coli pre-harvest.

By-products Research

  • Efficient ways to use by-products from the ethanol industry in beef and dairy rations are being studied.
  • Economic studies show that feeding wet instead of dry byproducts provided cumulative net economic benefits of $215 million in Nebraska from 1992-1999.
  • Research works to improve sustainable beef production systems that emphasize the use of forages and other byproducts.

Production and Management Research

  • Acidosis and rate of feed intake are being researched on a cause/effect basis.
  • Starch utilization research and protein research work to improve production efficiency.
  • Phosphorus levels in different forages are being compared to reduce the need for supplementation.