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Beef Cattle Research
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Alleviating rate limiting factors that compromise beef production efficiency

pictures of animal research 

Fort Keogh's Genetics and Physiology Research Section is made up of 3 scientists and 2 technicians that represent a broad range of disciplines focused on the project "Alleviating Rate limiting factors that compromise beef production efficiency." This project is part of the National Program - Food Animal Production #101. Our overarching goal is to develop strategies and technologies for reducing costs of beef production, including enhanced efficiency of nutrient utilization and improved reproductive performance. Feed intake levels resulting in adequate body energy stores are widely believed essential for successful reproduction. Feed consumption and replacement of cows culled for reproductive failure are two primary determinants of cost of beef production. Producers seek to optimally match nutritional environment and genotype to obtain high rates of reproduction. This optimization is complicated by the symbiotic interplay between host animal and rumen microbial populations. Our approach is of necessity long-term and multi-disciplinary, involving genetics, physiology, nutrition, and microbial metagenomics. This proposal brings to fruition ongoing research and establishes new lines of investigation. Four distinct cattle populations are used: Line 1 Hereford, an intercross (CGC) of Charolais (25%), Red Angus (50%) and Tarentaise (25%), and two predominantly Hereford-Angus crossbred herds. Line 1 Hereford cattle are ~30% inbred, with consequently reduced fitness, and have close ties to the bovine genome sequence and the general US Hereford population. These characteristics facilitate assessing genetic factors affecting fitness and assure relevance to the industry. Two distinct nutritional environments will be imposed on the CGC population to challenge the nutrition-reproduction interrelationship. One Hereford-Angus cowherd provides donor and recipient females for studies using embryo transfer. The other Hereford-Angus cow herd calves in two distinct timeframes and thus has differential synchrony between nutritional value of range forage and nutrient requirements of the cows. To address a broad spectrum of customer interests, we envision a mixture of basic investigations and applied studies.



Tom Geary

Andy Roberts

El Hamidi Hay

Richard Waterman
 Range Animal Nutritionist

Genetics History

Physiology History





Embryo Development Cows ovulating a small pre-ovulatory follicle will have delayed embryo development and decreased embryo quality. 


Feed to breed
Implications of going against the dogma of feed them to breed them.

 Genome Mapping
Identify genes and genetic interactions that characterize elite animals in order to improve production and sustainability of US livestock.

Detection of QTL
Detection of QTL in a Wagyu x Limousin cross


Genetic Evaluation
Moving to state-of-the-art genetic evaulation for beef cattle


Transport Stress
Effects of Transportation Stress, Handling Stress and Flunixin Meglumine

USDA, ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
243 Fort Keogh Rd., Miles City, MT  59301-4016
Phone: 406-874-8200, Fax:  406-874-8289