[Archived bio. For updates on Shaoyu, please check his LinkedIn profile, linked at the bottom of the page.]
I’m a PhD student and my thesis research has two parts:
The first part is subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). High grain diet could increase milk production, but it has negative long-term compromises in cow health, which would depress the potential milk production. our study is to learn more about the potential relationships between SARA and the physiology, productivity and ultimately the health of dairy cows. Dairy producers and veterinarians will be able to use methods developed in this experiment to quickly diagnose ruminal issues early and therefore be better equipped to rectify the problems earlier. By collecting urine and ruminal fluid from lactating dairy cows, we hope to be able correlate the two so an easy, non-invasive on farm test can be developed.
The second part is using direct-fed microbial (DFM) on dairy cattle production. DFM has become common in the dairy industry, but questions regarding their value remain prevalent. Research has shown that DFM improves animal performance and health, prevents ruminal acidosis, and enhances digestion of carbohydrates and proteins in the rumen. The exactly mechanism on how the DFM is providing this beneficial effect is still to be determined. The DFM will increase fiber digestion allowing better feed utilization by the animal. By collecting ruminal fluid from dry and lactating dairy cows, we hope to be able to detect a shift in microbial population and identify the microorganisms responsible for the possible increase in milk production.