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Research Projects: Beef Cattle


At The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture projects related to beef cattle with management practices, genetics, nutrition, breeding, economics, and reproduction are presented here to highlight the accomplishments of our researchers.

Publications and Reports

Link Pointer Differential Transcript Profiles in Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes Originating from Pre-Ovulatory Follicles of Varied Physiological Maturity in Beef Cows
Authors: Sarah E. Moorey, Jenna M. Monnig, Michael F. Smith, M. Sofia Ortega, Jonathan A. Green, Ky G. Pohler, G. Alan Bridges, Susanta K. Behura, and Thomas W. Geary
Small dominant follicle diameter at induced ovulation, but not at spontaneous ovulation, decreased pregnancy rate, fertilization rate, and day seven embryo quality in beef cows. We hypothesized that the physiological status of the follicle at GnRH-induced ovulation has a direct effect on the transcriptome of the Cumulus-Oocyte complex, thereby affecting oocyte competence and subsequent embryo development. The objective of this study was to determine if the transcriptome of oocytes and associated cumulus cells (CC) differed among small (11.7 mm) and large follicles (12.7 mm) exposed to a GnRH-induced gonadotropin surge and follicles (11.7–14.0 mm) exposed to an endogenous gonadotropin surge (spontaneous follicles).

Link Pointer The Effects of Protein Level on Cytokines and Chemokines in the Uterine Environment of Beef Heifers During Development
Authors: Taylor B. Ault-Seay, Taylor D. Harrison, Kiernan J. Brandt, Rebecca R. Payton, Liesel G. Schneider, Phillip R. Myer, Justin D. Rhinehart, Louisa A. Rispoli, and Kyle J. McLean
The development of replacement heifers is crucial for breeding success and herd efficiency. Nutritional management can affect not only reproductive development but also the inflammatory status of the uterine environment, which may impact reproductive functions such as pregnancy establishment and development. The study herein evaluated the concentration of cytokines and chemokines in the uterus of heifers supplemented with different levels of protein.

Link Pointer Rapid Discovery and Detection of Haemaphysalis longicornis through the Use of Passive Surveillance and Collaboration: Building a State Tick-Surveillance Network
Authors:  Rebecca T. Trout Fryxell, Dene N. Vann, Rebecca A. Butler, Dave J. Paulsen, Jennifer G. Chandler, Micah P. Willis, Heidi M. Myrosdick, John J. Schaefer, Richard W. Gerhold, Daniel M. Grove, Jennie Z. Ivey, Kevin W. Thompson, Roger D. Applegate, Joy Sweaney, Sterling Daniels, Samantha Beaty, Douglas Balthaser, James D. Freye II, James W. Mertins, Daniel L. Bonilla, and Kevin Lahmers
Between March 2019 and February 2020, Asian long-horned ticks were discovered and collected for the first time in one middle and seven eastern Tennessee counties, facilitated by a newly developed passive and collaborative tick-surveillance network. Network collaborators included federal, state, county, university, and private resource personnel working with companion animals, livestock, and wildlife.

Link Pointer Evaluation of Reproductive Tract Cytokines in Post-partum Beef Cows Relating to Reproductive Microbiota and Fertility Outcomes
Authors: Rebecca K. Poole, Taylor B. Ault-Seay, Rebecca R. Payton, Phillip R. Myer, Andrea S. Lear, and Ky G. Pohler
The activity of the immune system in the reproductive tract has been proven to be crucial in the response to uterine diseases, normal reproductive functions, and tolerance to the allogeneic fetus during pregnancy. The objectives of the current study were to (1) evaluate uterine and vaginal cytokine concentrations in postpartum cows undergoing estrus synchronization followed by timed artificial insemination, and (2) correlate bacterial communities with cytokine concentrations.

Link Pointer Replacing Late-Calving Beef Cows to Shorten Calving Season
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Kenny Burdine, Justin D. Rhinehart, and Charley Martinez
We simulated beef cattle producers’ returns to shortening a 120-day calving season to 45 and 60 days by replacing late-calving cows for two herd sizes. We developed dynamic simulation models to consider production and price risk. We explored outcomes from annually replacing 10% or 20% of the late-calving cows to reach the desired calving-season length. The optimal scenario depends on herd size and whether the producer wants to maximize profits or certainty equivalent. The smaller herd benefited more from shortening calving season relative to the large herd.

Link Pointer Data of Bacterial Community Dynamics Resulting from Total Rumen Content Exchange in Beef Cattle
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Madison T. Henniger, and Phillip R. Myer
Extensive efforts have been made to characterize the rumen microbiome under various conditions. However, few studies have addressed the long-term impacts of ruminal microbiome dysbiosis and the extent of host control over microbiome stability. These data can also inform host-microbial symbioses. The objective was to develop preliminary data to measure the changes that occur in the rumen bacterial communities following a rumen content exchange to understand the effects major perturbations may impart upon the rumen microbiome, which may be host-driven.

Link Pointer Ruminal Protozoal Populations of Angus Steers Differing in Feed Efficiency
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Sung B Shin, timothy P. L. Smith, Mallory M. Embree, Brynn H. Voy, Liesel G. Schneider, Dallas R. Donohoe, Kyle J. McLean, and Phillip R. Myer
The rumen protozoa have been demonstrated to enhance methanogenesis and impact intraruminal recycling of microbial protein. However, they are also known to contribute to fiber degradation and the stabilization of ruminal pH changes. The apparent metabolic impact of ciliated protozoa in the rumen may contribute to the variation in feed efficiency.

Link Pointer Spray and Pour-On Acaricides Killed Tennessee (United States) Field-Collected Haemaphysalis longicornis Nymphs (Acari: Ixodidae) in Laboratory Bioassays
Authors:  R. A. Butler, J. G. Chandler, K.M. Vail, C.J. Holderman, and R.T. Trout Fryxell
The Asian longhorned tick (ALT) is an exotic and invasive tick species presenting a health and economic threat to the United States cattle industry due to its ability to transmit pathogens and infest hosts in large numbers. The objective of this study was to evaluate available products at causing ALT mortality in a laboratory bioassay. The efficacy of products was evaluated at label rates using ALT nymphs collected from a cattle farm in eastern Tennessee in two different bioassays (spray or dip) against untreated controls.

Link Pointer A Unique Academic–Government Collaboration Yields First Report of Detailed Habitat Description for Haemaphysalis longicornis (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in Madison County, KY
Authors:  J.T. Vogt, B.D. Allen, D. Paulsen, and R.T. Trout Fryxell
Asian longhorned tick, was collected in Madison County, Kentucky, United States as part of an ongoing collaborative-tick surveillance project. This is the first collection of this invasive tick that includes ancillary data on habitat and landscape features derived from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis program.

Link Pointer Effects of Management System on Beef Heifer Growth and Reproductive Performance
Authors: Parker A. Henley, Frank A. Ireland, Igor F. Canisso, J. Lannett Edwards, and Daniel W. Shike
The objectives of this experiment were to compare the growth and reproductive performance of replacement fall-calving beef heifers developed in two common Midwest systems (dry lot developed and grazing E+ with daily supplementation) with two alternative strategies (grazing E+ with daily supplementation from the midpoint of treatment period until breeding, or grazing NE+). This study evaluated the effect of heifer development system on body weight, body condition score, fescue toxicosis symptoms, reproductive performance, and subsequent calf growth of fall-calving beef heifers.

Link Pointer Form of Supplemental Selenium in Vitamin-Mineral Premixes Differentially Affects Early Luteal and Gestational Concentrations of Progesterone, and Postpartum Concentrations of Prolactin in Beef Cows
Authors: Sarah Carr, Yang Jia, Benjamin Crites, Charles Hamilton, Walter Burris, J. Lannett Edwards, James Matthews, Phillips J. Bridges
Soils with marginal to deficient levels of selenium (Se) are widespread in the northwest, northeast, and southeast US. Supplementation to the diet of forage-grazing beef cattle with a vitamin-mineral mix containing additional Se is recommended in these geographic regions. We have reported that the form of supplemental Se provided to Angus-cross beef cows can affect circulating levels of progesterone (P4) on day 6 of the estrous cycle, a time when increased P4 is known to promote fertility. The objectives of this study were to (1) confirm and expand upon our initial report that the form of Se provided to cows affects early luteal-phase concentrations of systemic P4, (2) determine the effects of the form of Se on concentrations of P4 during gestation, and (3) determine the effects of the form of Se on concentrations of prolactin (PRL) during lactation.

Link Pointer Does the Tennessee Master Beef Producer Program Impact Technical Efficiency?
Authors:  Christopher N. Boyer, Edward Yu, Justin D. Rhinehart, Amelia Ahles, and Mackenzie Gill
The impacts of the Tennessee Master Beef Producer (MBP) program on the technical efficiency (TE) of Tennessee beef production was estimated using county-level data in 2007, 2012, and 2017. A two-stage, double bootstrap method was used to measure TE by county and year, and identify any statistical relationship between MBP and TE. TE of beef production changed statewide during this time period. We found a positive relationship in MBP participation and county-level TE of beef production. Results are helpful in targeting locations for future education and provide evidence on the effectiveness of MBP.

Link Pointer Evaluating Optimal Purchasing and Selling Decisions of Beef Cattle Replacement Females
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Andrew P. Griffith, and Karen L. DeLong
The objective of this research was to determine the optimal age and pregnancy status for buying and selling replacement of beef females for risk-neutral and risk-averse producers. This research offers unique insight into how pregnancy status and age at sale impacts the animal’s NPV while considering risk. These results have implications for educating producers on purchasing and selling decisions of heifers and cows as well as for lenders who finance these purchases.

Link Pointer Reproductive Failure and Long-Term Profitability of Spring- and Fall-Calving Beef Cows
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Andrew P. Griffith, and Karen L. DeLong
We determined how reproductive failure impacts the long-term profitability of beef cows in spring and fall-calving herds. Simulation models were established to generate distributions of net present value, payback periods, and breakeven prices of calves when a dam fails to wean zero, one, or two calves over her life. Results indicate that giving a dam another calving opportunity after failing to wean a calf would likely result in her being unprofitable. A producer would be better off selling the open dam than giving her another chance to breed. This illustrates the value in selecting replacement heifers based on fertility.

Link Pointer Rumen and Serum Metabolomes in Response to Endophyte-Infected Tall Fescue Seed and Isoflavone Supplementation in Beef Steers
Authors: Taylor B. Ault-Seay, Emily A. Melchior-Tiffany, Brooke A. Clemmons, Juan F. Cordero, Gary E. Bates, Michael D. Flythe, James L. Klotz, Huihua Ji, Jack P. Goodman, Kyle J. McLean, and Phillip R. Myer
Fescue toxicosis impacts beef cattle production via reductions in weight gain and muscle development. Isoflavone supplementation has displayed potential for mitigating these effects. The objective of the current study was to evaluate isoflavone supplementation with fescue seed consumption on rumen and serum metabolomes.

Link Pointer Rumen Fluid Metabolomics of Beef Steers Differing in Feed Efficiency
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Cameron Martino, Joshua B. Powers, Shawn R. Campagna, Brynn H. Voy, Dallas R. Donohoe, James Gaffney, Mallory M. Embree, and Phillip R. Myer
Beef is the most consumed red meat in the United States, and the US is the largest producer and consumer of beef cattle globally. Feed is one of the largest input costs for the beef cattle industry, accounting for 40–60% of the total input costs. Identifying methods for improving feed efficiency in beef cattle herds could result in decreased cost to both producers and consumers, as well as increased animal protein available for global consumption.

Link Pointer Uterine and Vaginal Bacterial Community Diversity Prior to Artificial Insemination between Pregnant and Nonpregnant Postpartum Cows
Authors: Taylor B. Ault, Brooke A. Clemmons, Sydney T. Reese, Felipe G. Dantas, Gessica A. Franco, Tim P. L. Smith, J. Lannett Edwards, Phillip R. Myer, and Ky G. Pohler
The present study evaluated the bovine vaginal and uterine bacterial community diversity and its relationship to fertility. Postpartum beef cows (n = 68) were synchronized beginning on day −21 and ending with timed artificial insemination (TAI) on day 0. Pregnancy was diagnosed 30 d after TAI. Uterine and vaginal flushes were collected on day −21, −9, and −2 for bacterial DNA extraction to sequence the V1 to V3 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene.

Link Pointer Using Pregnancy Associated Glycoproteins (PAG) for Pregnancy Detection at Day 24 of Gestation in Beef Cattle
Authors: R. V. Oliveira Filho, G. A. Franco, S. T. Reese, F. G. Dantas, P. L. P. Fontes, R. F. Cooke, Justin D. Rhinehart, Kevin W. Thompson, and Ky G. Pohler
The objective of this experiment was to determine if circulating concentrations of pregnancy associated glycoproteins (PAG) on day 24 of gestation can be utilized to diagnose pregnancy and embryo viability in beef cattle. Postpartum beef cows (n ¼ 677) and heifers (n ¼ 127) were exposed to a 7-day COSynch þ CIDR estrus synchronization protocol followed by fixed-time AI (FTAI) on day 0.

Link Pointer Risk and Returns from Grazing Beef Cattle on Warm-Season Grasses in Tennessee
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Katelynn Zechiel, Patrick D. Keyser, Justin D. Rhinehart, and Gary E. Bates
A possible way to extend grazing in this region is to use warm-season grasses (WSGs) during summer to complement tall fescue. Therefore, the objective of this study is to compare the profitability and risk associated with grazing beef stocker cattle on five WSGs: a combination of big bluestem and indiangrass, switchgrass, eastern gamagrass, bermudagrass, and crabgrass. Data comes from a 3-yr (2014–2016) grazing experiment at two locations in Tennessee.

Link Pointer Price Determinants of Performance-Tested Bulls over Time
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Kelsey Campbell, Andrew P. Griffith, Karen L. DeLong, Justin D. Rhinehart, and David Kirkpatrick
We estimate the values of bull phenotypic traits, performance measurements, and expected progeny differences (EPDs) over time using bull sale data from an auction in Tennessee from 2006 to 2016. Moreover, we determine how a state partial-cost reimbursement program for bulls with certain EPDs affects bull sale price. Purebred seed stock producers in this region should focus on selling large, fastgrowing, mature bulls that produce lighter calves for reduced calving stress. The state cost-share payment did not significantly increase bull prices in most years, meaning this payment was retained by cow-calf producers in most years.

Link Pointer Rumen Bacteria and Serum Metabolites Predictive of Feed Efficiency Phenotypes in Beef Cattle
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Cameron Martino, Joshua B. Powers, Shawn R. Campagna, Brynn H. Voy, Dallas R. Donohoe, James Gaffney, Mallory M. Embree, and  Phillip R. Myer
The rumen microbiome is critical to nutrient utilization and feed efficiency in cattle. Consequently, the objective of this study was to identify microbial and biochemical factors in Angus steers affecting divergences in feed efficiency using 16S amplicon sequencing and untargeted metabolomics.

Link Pointer Temporal Stability of the Ruminal Bacterial Communities in Beef Steers
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Cameron Martino, Liesel G. Schneider, Josh Lefler, Mallory M. Embree, and Phillip R. Myer
Nutritional studies involving ruminants have traditionally relied on relatively short transition or wash-out periods between dietary treatments, typically two to four weeks. However, little is known about adequate adaptation periods required to reach stabilization of the rumen microbiome that could provide more accurate results from nutritional studies in ruminants. This study determined the rumen bacterial communities and rumen environment parameters over ten weeks following transition from a forage-based to concentrate-based diet.

Link Pointer Winter Grazing of Stockpiled Native Forages During Heifer Development Delays Body Weight Gain Without Influencing Final Pregnancy Rates
Authors: Zachary D. McFarlane, Emily R. Cope, Jeremy D. Hobbs, Renta N. Oakes, Ky G. Pohler, and J. Travis Mulliniks
The objective of this study was to test the effects of protein supplementation strategy and different stockpiled forage species on growth, nutritional status, and reproductive performance of yearling beef heifers.

Link Pointer Estimating Restaurant Willingness to Pay for Local Beef
Authors: Lettie C. McKay, Karen L. DeLong, Kimberly L. Jensen, Andrew P. Griffith, Christopher N. Boyer, and Dayton M. Lambert
This study contributes to understanding local food supply chains and provides a framework for future studies of restaurant willingness to pay for local foods.

Link Pointer Cow-Calf Producers’ Willingness to Pay for Bulls Resistant to Horn Flies
Authors: Lettie McKay, Karen L. DeLong, Susan Schexnayder, Andrew P. Griffith, David B. Taylor, Pia Olafson, and R. T. Trout Fryxell
Horn fly management strategies are labor intensive and can become ineffective due to the horn fly’s ability to develop insecticide resistance. Research indicates that for some cattle herds, genetically similar animals consistently have fewer flies suggesting those animals are horn fly resistant (HFR) and that the trait is heritable; however, it is currently unknown if cattle producers value this trait. Tennessee and Texas cow-calf producers were surveyed to estimate their willingness to pay for HFR bulls and to identify the factors affecting their decision to adopt a HFR bull in their herds.

Link Pointer Beef Cattle Farmers’ Marketing Preferences For Selling Local Beef
Authors: Karen L. DeLong, Kimberly L. Jensen, Andrew P. Griffith, and Elizabeth McLeod
To meet the growing consumer demand for local foods, there has been increased interest by farmers to produce local foods. One facet of meeting this demand is how farmers may prefer to market their locally produced products. In this study, we examine beef cattle farmers’ marketing preferences for selling a Tennessee Certified Beef product.

Link Pointer Consumer Willingness to Pay For Tennessee Certified Beef
Authors: Meagan G. Merritt, Karen L. DeLong, Andrew P. Griffith, and Kimberly L. Jensen
A choice experiment was administered to Tennessee consumers to determine their willingness to pay for Tennessee Certified Beef (TCB) and other attributes such as labels indicating producer participation in AMBP and BQA. This research found that producers would gain premiums for their beef by conveying to consumers that they are BQA and AMBP certified.

Link Pointer Tennessee Beef Producers’ Willingness to Participate in a State Branded Beef Program
Authors: Elizabeth McLeod, Kimberly Jensen, Andrew P. Griffith, and Karen L. DeLong
Tennessee cattle producer willingness to participate in a hypothetical Tennessee Branded Beef Program (TBBP) was examined using 2016 survey data. This research found that 67% of the Tennessee cattle producers surveyed were willing to participate in a TBBP given it was profitable, and, on average, among those willing to participate, each producer was willing to supply nearly 33,000 pounds of beef on average to a TBBP annually.

Link Pointer Microbiomes in Ruminant Protein Production and Food Security
Authors: Phillip R. Myer, Brooke A. Clemmons, Liesel G. Schneider, and Taylor B. Ault
The global population is rapidly increasing and will surpass 10 billion people within the next 20 years. As diminishing resources continue to impact agriculture, and with the necessity to feed the world by 2050, the agricultural sector must be able to sustainably and efficiently produce high-quality sources of food that are both attainable to the global population and contribute to healthy, balanced nutrition.This review, therefore, examines the role of microbiomes in ruminants to efficiently and sustainably produce high-quality protein for human consumption to aid in efforts to achieve global food security.

Link Pointer Effects of Endophyte-infected Tall Fescue Seed and Red Clover Isoflavones on Rumen Microbial Populations and Physiological Parameters of Beef Cattle
Authors: Emily A. Melchior, Jason K. Smith, Liesel G. Schneider, J. Travis Mulliniks, Gary E. Bates, Michael D. Flythe, James L. Klotz, Huihua Ji, Jack P. Goodman, Amanda R. Lee, J. Marc Caldwell, and Phillip R. Myer
In this experiment, feeding isoflavones to Angus cattle did not completely mitigate all symptoms of fescue toxicosis. However, dose–response trials may aid future research to determine if dietary supplementation with isoflavones alleviates fescue toxicosis symptoms and promotes livestock growth and performance.

Link Pointer Effects of Red Clover Isoflavones on Tall Fescue Seed Fermentation and Microbial Populations in vitro
Authors: Emily A. Melchior, Jason K. Smith, Liesel G. Schneider, J. Travis Mulliniks, Gary E. Bates, Zachary D. McFarlane, Michael D. Flythe, James L. Klotz, Jack P. Goodman, Huihua Ji, and Phillip R. Myer
Clovers contain phytoestrogenic compounds known as isoflavones that may be beneficial in reducing physiological limitations with consumption of endophyte-infected tall fescue. This review highlights concerns with endophyte-infected tall fescue as a primary forage base in the southeastern United States and discusses specific physiological and ruminal effects caused by consumption of ergot alkaloids.

Link Pointer Fescue Toxicosis and Its Influence on The Rumen Microbiome: Mitigation of Production Losses Through Clover Isoflavones
Authors: Emily A. Melchior and Phillip R. Myer
Clovers contain phytoestrogenic compounds known as isoflavones that may be beneficial in reducing physiological limitations with consumption of endophyte-infected tall fescue. This review highlights concerns with endophyte-infected tall fescue as a primary forage base in the southeastern United States and discusses specific physiological and ruminal effects caused by consumption of ergot alkaloids.

Link Pointer Factors Associated with Seroprevalence of Anaplasma Marginale in Kentucky Cattle
Authors: Chika C. Okafor, Samantha L. Collins, Joseph A. Daniel, Benton Harvey, Xiaocun Sun, Johann F. Coetzee, and Brian K. Whitlock
Bovine anaplasmosis (BA) is tick-borne disease of cattle caused by Anaplasma marginale and it remains an economically important disease in the United States. We have anecdotal information that Veterinary Feed Directive prescriptions in Kentucky are written most often for treatment and prevention of BA. However, there are no recent prevalence estimates of this disease in KY. Thus, this study was aimed at determining the seroprevalence of and factors associated with BA in KY.

Link Pointer Past, Present, and Future Contributions and Needs for Veterinary Entomology in the United States and Canada
Authors: Bradley A. Mullens, Nancy C. Hinkle, Rebecca Trout Fryxell, and Kateryn Rochon
Trained veterinary entomologists play a vital role in determining how integrated livestock, crop production, and agroecosystems coming online may inadvertently contribute to animal pest populations and how to minimize outbreaks.

Link Pointer Beefing Up Biosecurity: Survey of Ticks Currently Threatening the Tennessee Beef Cattle Industry, and a Proposed Monitoring Strategy for Invasive Ticks
Authors: D.P. Theuret and R.T. Trout Fryxell
Tick-borne diseases are poised to devastate the North American cattle industry if infected ticks invade the country either by importation of an infested-animal or with natural host migration. Our research objectives were to identify sources for invasive-tick monitoring and use those sources to describe seasonal and regional impacts on infestation prevalence and burden of ticks on beef cattle.

Link Pointer Circulating Beta-hydroxybutyrate Concentration may be a Predictive Measurement for Young Cows that have a Greater Probability to Conceive at a Fixed-time Artificial Insemination
Authors: Jeremy D. Hobbs, S. R. Edwards, Emily R. Cope, Zachary D. McFarlane, Ky G. Pohler, and J. Travis Mulliniks
Timing of conception, which has been indicated to be negatively influenced by metabolic dysfunctions, can influence lifetime productivity within the cow herd. Therefore, our objective was to analyze the association of milk production, serum metabolites as an indicator of nutrient status, cow body weight (BW) and BW change, and calf BW with timing of pregnancy in 183 spring-calving beef cows.

Link Pointer Relationships Among Temperament, Acute and Chronic Cortisol and Testosterone Concentrations, and Breeding Soundness During Performance Testing of Angus Bulls
Authors: S. A. Lockwood, H. G. Kattesh, J.D. Rhinehart, L.G. Strickland, P.D. Krawczel, J.B. Wilkerson, F.D. Kirkpatrick, and A. M. Saxton
The aim of this study was to examine relationships among temperament, endocrinology, and reproductive parameters of bulls enrolled in an 84-day performance test. Bulls exhibited physiological evidence of acclimation during the test as indicated by a reduction in hair cortisol concentration. In addition, the ability of the bulls to acclimate while residing at the testing center may have contributed to little differences observed during the breeding soundness examination portion of the performance test.

Link Pointer High Milk Production Decreases Cow-Calf Productivity Within a Highly Available Feed Resource Environment
Authors: S. R. Edwards, J. D. Hobbs, and J. T. Mulliniks
The beef cattle industry tends to focus on selecting production traits with the purpose of maximizing cow-calf performance. One such trait is milking ability, which is considered the primary influence on weaning weight of the calf. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of actual milk yield on reproductive performance, circulating blood metabolites, and calf performance in beef cows in the Southeastern US.

Link Pointer Is the Natural Label Misleading? Examining Consumer Preferences for Natural Beef
Authors: Konstantinos G. Syrengelas, Karen L. DeLong, Carola Grebitus, and Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr.
A petition to the USDA claims that natural labeling misleads consumers. We investigate this claim using an online choice experiment to determine consumer willingness to pay for steak labeled as natural. Half of the sample was provided with the definition of natural, while half was not. The absence of the definition resulted in consumers placing a premium on “natural” steak, while those provided with the definition were not willing to pay a premium. Similarly, participants who consider themselves familiar with the natural definition did not place a premium on “natural” steak. Results indicate that consumers may misinterpret the natural label.

Link Pointer Replacement Beef Cow Valuation under Data Availability Constraints
Authors: Amy D. Hagerman, Jada M. Thompson, Charlotte Ham, and Kamina K. Johnson
Economists are often tasked with estimating the benefits or costs associated with livestock production losses; however, lack of available data or absence of consistent reporting can reduce the accuracy of these valuations.

Link Pointer Beef Cattle Retained Ownership and Profitability in Tennessee
Authors: Minfeng Tang, Karen E. Lewis, Dayton M. Lambert, Andrew P. Griffith, and Christopher N. Boyer
The effect of animal characteristics and placement decisions on retained ownership profitability of Tennessee cattle from 2005 to 2015 was determined using a mixed model regression. Regression results indicate that placement weight, placement season, days on feed, animal health, and animal sex affect retained ownership profitability. Simulation results indicate that winter placement of cattle in feedlots had the highest expected retained ownership profits. Results provide risk-averse producers information regarding the profitability of retained ownership.

Link Pointer Probability of Receiving an Indemnity Payment from Feeder Cattle Livestock Risk Protection Insurance
Authors: Meagan G. Merritt, Andrew P. Griffith, Christopher N. Boyer, and Karen E. Lewis
Livestock risk protection (LRP) insurance is a price risk management tool available to cattle producers; however, producers have been hesitant to adopt LRP. The objective of the study was to determine the monthly feeder cattle LRP contract coverage level and length maximizing the probability of the LRP net price being greater than the CME Feeder Cattle Index (CME FCI) price. The CME FCI prices were higher than the LRP net price for the majority of the contract lengths and coverage levels. Several coverage lengths and levels provided similar price protection, and there was no consistent preferred coverage length and level.

Link Pointer Altering the Gut Microbiome of Cattle: Considerations of Host-Microbiome Interactions for Persistent Microbiome Manipulation
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Brynn H. Voy, and Phillip R. Myer
This manuscript reviews contributing factors to the rumen microbiome establishment or re-establishment following rumen microbiome perturbation, as well as host-microbiome interactions that may be responsible for possible host specificity of the rumen microbiome. Understanding and accounting for the variety of factors contributing to rumen microbiome establishment or re-establishment in cattle will ultimately lead to identification of biomarkers of feed efficiency that will result in improved selection criteria, as well as aid to determine methods for persistent microbiome manipulation to optimize production phenotypes.

Link Pointer Effect of Forage Species and Supplement Type on Rumen Kinetics and Serum Metabolites in Growing Beef Heifers Grazing Winter Forage
Authors: Zachary D. McFarlane, R. P. Barbero, R. L. G. Nave, E. B. Maheiros, R. A. Reis, and J. Travis Mulliniks
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of stockpiled forage type and protein supplementation on VFA production, serum metabolites, and BW in yearling beef heifers.These results suggest that a compensatory gain period prior to breeding would be needed for these native warm-season species to be a viable opportunity for growing and developing replacement heifers in the southeastern United States.

Link Pointer Serum Metabolites Associated with Feed Efficiency in Black Angus Steers
Authors: Brooke A. Clemmons, Robert L. Mihelic, Ronique C. Beckford, Joshua B. Powers, Emily B. Powers, Emily A. Melchoir, Zachary D. McFarlane, Emily R. Cope, Mallory M. Embree, J. Travis Mulliniks, Shawn R. Campagna, Brynn H. Voy, Phillip R. Myer
Improving feed utilization in cattle is required to reduce input costs, increase production, and ultimately improve sustainability of the beef cattle industry. Characterizing metabolic differences between efficient and nonefficient animals will allow stakeholders to identify more efficient cattle during backgrounding. Four metabolites that differed between low and high residual feed intake have important functions related to nutrient utilization, among other functions, in cattle. This information will allow identification of more efficient steers during backgrounding.

Link Pointer Analysis of the Gut Bacterial Communities in Beef Cattle and Their Association with Feed Intake, Growth, and Efficiency
Authors: Phillip R. Myer, H.C. Freetly, J. E. Wells, T. P. L. Smith, and L.A.  Kuehn
This review addresses recent research regarding the bacterial communities along the gastrointestinal tract of beef cattle; their association with ADG, ADFI, and feed efficiency; and the potential implications for beef production.

Link Pointer Rumen-protected Arginine Alters Blood Flow Parameters and Luteinizing Hormone Concentration in Cyclic Beef Cows Consuming Toxic Endophyte-infected Tall Fescue Seed
Authors: M.A. Green, B.K. Whitlock, J.L. Edwards, E.J. Scholljegerdes, and J.T. Mulliniks
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of rumen-protected arginine on median caudal artery blood flow and LH dynamics in cows fed toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue seed. Supplementing rumen-protected Arg to cows consuming toxic endophyte- infected fescue seed has the potential to increase reproductive performance and peripheral blood flow.

Link Pointer Prevalence of Tritrichomonas foetus in Tennessee Bulls
Authors:   Chika C. Okafor, Lew G. Strickland, Brittni M. Jones, Stephen Kania, David E. Anderson, and Brian K. Whitlock
The prevalence of bovine trichomonosis (BT) in Tennessee is low. Therefore, current surveillance efforts towards BT control in TN are acceptable. Future efforts should focus on educating TN cattle stakeholders on the importance of optimal specimen collection and handling as well as routine testing for BT before cattle movement. In addition, cattle producers should be reminded of leading risk factors associated with trichomonosis in cattle.

Link Pointer Does Prepartum Supplemental Feed Impact Beef Cattle Profitability Through Finishing?
Authors: Karen E. Lewis, Andrew P. Griffith, Christopher N. Boyer, and Justin D. Rhinehart
Little is known about the impact of a supplemental prepartum feed ration for cows on the profitability of their calves. Therefore, we investigated the impact of animal characteristics and a supplemental prepartum feed program for cows on net returns to finished steers and the probability of a steer grading Choice or higher. Data were collected for 160 Tennessee steers that were finished in a feedlot. The supplemental prepartum feeding program decreased net returns of finished steers. Several animal characteristics were found to influence net returns of finished steers and the probability of a steer grading Choice or higher.

Link Pointer Effects of Pre-weaning Feed Supplementation and Total Versus Fenceline Weaning on the Physiology and Performance of Beef Steers
Authors: C. Campistol, H. G. Kattesh, J. C. Waller, E. L. Rawis, J. D. Arthington, J. A. Carroll, G. M. Pighetti, and A. M. Saxton
The hypothesis of this experiment was that a 1-week supplementation of the cow-calf pair with the palatable diet would be sufficient time to familiarize the calf to subsequent offering following weaning, thus reducing the acute stress response experienced by the calf following two different methods of separation from its dam. However, the results of the present study suggest that providing a high fiber supplement beginning 7 days prior to weaning may reduce body weight loss and temper the steers’ acute stress response when weaned using total separation from their dam.

Link Pointer Bred Heifer Price Determinants in the Southeast
Authors: Christopher N. Boyer, Andrew P. Griffith, Jada M. Thompson, Justin D. Rhinehart, and Kenneth H. Burdine
Price determinants for bulls, cows, and feeder cattle are well established in the literature but there has been little research on bred heifer price determinants and specifically the impact of feeder cattle prices on the purchase price of bred heifers. We estimated the impact of reproductive characteristics and feeder cattle prices on bred heifer prices for beef production.

Link Pointer Profitability of Beef and Biomass Production from Native Warm-Season Grasses in Tennessee
Authors: Joe K. Lowe II, Christopher N. Boyer, Andrew P. Griffith, Gary E. Bates, Patrick D. Keyser, John C. Waller, James A. Larson, and William M. Backus
Native warm-season grasses (NWSGs) have demonstrated potential to reduce summer forage variability, and furthermore, there has been growing interest in the use of NWSGs as lignocellulosic biomass crops. The objective of this research was to determine if there was a difference in net returns for full-season summer grazing beef steers on three NWSGs.

Link Pointer Microbial Community Profiles of the Colon from Steers Differing in Feed Efficiency
Authors: Phillip R. Myer, James E. Wells, Timothy P. L. Smith, Larry A. Kuehn, and Harvey C. Freetly
Ruminal microbial fermentation plays an essential role in host nutrition, and as a result, the rumen microbiota have been a major focus of research examining bovine feed efficiency. Microbial communities within other sections of the gastrointestinal tract may also be important with regard to feed efficiency, since it is critical to the health and nutrition of the host.

Link Pointer Cecum Microbial Communities From Steers Differing in Feed Efficiency
Authors:  Phillip R. Myer, James E. Wells, Timothy P. L. Smith, Larry A. Kuehn, and Harvey C. Freetly
Apart from the rumen, limited knowledge exists regarding the structure and function of bacterial communities within the gastrointestinal tract and their association with beef cattle feed efficiency. The study identified cecal microbial associations with feed efficiency, ADG, and ADFI. This study suggests an association of the cecum microbial community with bovine feed efficiency at the 16S level.

Link Pointer Microbial Community Profiles of the Jejunum from Steers Differing in Feed Efficiency
Authors:  S.A. Lockwood, H.G. Kattesh, P.D. Krawczel, F.D. Kirkpatrick, A.M. Saxton, J.D. Rhinehart, and J.B. Wilkerson
Research regarding the association between the microbial community and host feed efficiency in cattle has primarily focused on the rumen. However, the various microbial populations within the gastrointestinal tract as a whole are critical to the overall well-being of the host and need to be examined when determining the interplay between host and nonhost factors affecting feed efficiency.

Link Pointer Relationships Among Temperament Behavior, and Growth During Performance Testing of Bulls
Authors:   S.A. Lockwood, H.G. Kattesh, P.D. Krawczel, F.D. Kirkpatrick, A.M. Saxton, J.D. Rhinehart, and J.B. Wilkerson
Excitable cattle are dangerous to personnel and have reduced individual performance. The aim of this study was to 1) identify objective criteria for evaluating bull temperament and 2) examine relationships among temperament, behavior, and performance of bulls during an 84-d performance test.