December 2015

♦ Notes from the Department Head ♦

Dr. Bill DaytonIt's December and with finals coming up and classes ending, we are coming to the end of a busy and productive year for faculty, students and staff in the Department. One of our main goals this year was to develop a strategic plan that will guide our research, teaching and outreach efforts over the next 5 years. Societal and technological changes since we developed our last strategic plan have prompted us to re-evaluate our goals in order to better serve the needs of students, livestock producers, industry, and society. We believe our overall mission is to enhance the productivity and well-being of animals to support a growing world population through education, science, and innovative technology. Areas of challenge and opportunity in the context of this mission include: feeding the world's growing population; utilizing advances in technology to improve animal production; interconnectedness of human and animal health; increasing concerns about animal well-being; increasing undergraduate student diversity; and continuing to provide high-quality education for students and society. To address these issues we have completed development of a strategic plan that includes the following 5-year goals:

Goal A: Develop and promote key areas of excellence and growth within the Department
Goal B: Engage more fully with our stakeholders within the University and beyond
Goal C: Provide world-class teaching in animal science
Goal D: Provide updated facilities to house and work with animals, support laboratory research, and teach students effectively
Goal E: Secure the financial resources to put the Department on a path of excellence

The strategic plan includes specific measures of success for accomplishing each of these general goals. Additionally, we have developed a work plan with specific steps required to successfully accomplish each goal. This work plan will be evaluated and updated annually to ensure that we make satisfactory progress towards achieving the broad goals listed in the strategic plan. The animal science faculty as well as numerous stake holders have been heavily involved in formulating this strategic plan and we believe it provides a vision for the future aligned with very tangible potential outcomes.

I would like to wish you all a great New Year and Holiday Season and to thank all of you for the support you provide the Department. I would also like to invite you to join us at our annual departmental Winterfest event (December 17, starting at noon in Haecker Hall). We hope you will join us to meet new friends and catch up with old friends and help us celebrate all the things we have accomplished together over the past year.

All the best in the New Year!

Dr. William R. Dayton
Department Head

♦ Teaching Highlights ♦

Human & Animal Physiology Lab (ANSC 3302)

Over the last several semesters, the Human and Animal Physiology lab (ANSC 3302) has had a significant makeover. While the lab still includes a sizeable anatomy component, new additions include hands-on activities that allow students to measure their own vital functions. Our undergraduate students are now able to perform tests on each other using several Advanced Teaching Systems by AD Instruments. These systems are highly versatile, allowing for electro-encephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), electrocardiography (ECG) and spirometry data collection. Drs. Jon Wheaton and Melissa Palmer were instrumental in acquiring these relatively new apparatuses.

Today, students participate in a variety of lab activities, which include assessments of physiological parameters such as brain and heart waves, skeletal muscle activity, heart and breathing rates, blood pressure and urine composition. Some examples of more in-depth experiments include examining the effects of weight lifting on antagonistic muscle group activity, coordinating the cardiac waveform with heart sounds in time, and simulating pathophysiological conditions like asthma by calculating FEV1/FVC, a measure of resistance in the airways, before and after alterations in the diameter of breathing tubes. There is also a senses lab in which students have the opportunity to explore taste receptor activity after sampling the compound miraculin, a natural sugar substitute that alters one's taste profile causing substances that normally trigger sour taste receptors like lemon juice to be seemingly sugary sweet. For more information on miraculin, go to

Recently, students have been working in groups conducting their own student-driven research projects. Past undergraduate projects have examined correlations between color-blindness and enhanced night vision, while other student-led projects have explored the effects of taste receptor stimulation on alpha and beta brain waves, and the effects of caffeine on brain and heart waves, blood pressure and recovery time following intense exercise. If there are any questions regarding this lab, please contact Melissa Palmer ( for more information.

Students in computer lab  Student in computer lab 

Students in computer lab  Students in computer lab

♦ News & Announcements ♦

Winterfest is December 17!

The Department of Animal Science will hold their annual holiday get together at noon on Thursday, December 17, in Room 365 Haecker Hall. This year, the Animal Sciences Graduate Club is organizing the potluck event. Bring your favorite dish to share! Winterfest is a great opportunity to share your holiday food traditions with everyone in Animal Science. Attendance is usually high so the more food, the better! It is suggested that faculty and staff bring a side dish and graduate students bring desserts. The Animal Science Meat Lab will supply meat and a side of potatoes. Plan on coming to Winterfest to enjoy some great food and company!


Holiday Specials - Meat & Dairy Products

BowsThe Meat and Dairy Salesroom sells meat products from the Animal Science Meat Lab and dairy products made in the Pilot Plant in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Holiday ice cream flavors (Peppermint Chip, Eggnog and Apple Pie Crunch) are now in stock. Cheese gift boxes and meat gift boxes will be available during the holidays! Please order meat gift boxes in advance by contacting Tristan McNamara ( Jodi Nelson ( is the contact for Dairy Products. 

The Salesroom is located in Room 166 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS), 1354 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul Campus. Regular hours are Wednesdays from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Holiday hours: Open 2:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 22 and Wednesday, December 23rd; closed on Wednesday, December 30.

Soren HallbergGive to Hallberg Family Memorial Fund

A memorial fund was established to help the family of Soren Hallberg, a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Animal Science program, who died earlier this year as a result of a tragic accident. Soren was 35 years of age. He left behind his wife and a young daughter. Consider making a donation to help the family with financial needs. To contribute to the Soren Hallberg Family Trust, please go to:

Grand Challenges Research Idea Submitted by Shurson & Team

The Provost's Grand Challenges Research Strategies Team invited ideas from faculty for "grand challenge" research priorities that the University could fruitfully embrace. Many faculty responded, submitting ideas spanning a wide range of topics and disciplines. The ideas were the basis for campus forums in October 2015. The ideas brought nearly 600 faculty, staff, and students together to focus and broaden Grand Challenges research ideas and identify opportunities to strenghten campus research connections.

A Grand Challenges research idea was submitted by Dr. Jerry Shurson (lead) with co-submitters Chi Chen (Metabolomics, Food Science and Nutrition), Chris Faulk (Functional Genomics, Animal Science), Lee Johnston (Animal Nutrition and Management, WCROC), Yuzhi Li (Animal Behavior and Alternative Production Systems, WCROC), Kota Minegishi (Animal Systems Optimization, Animal Science), Milena Saqui-Salces (Gastrointestinal Physiology, Animal Science), Jennifer Schmitt (NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, UMN IonE), and Pedro Urriola (Animal Nutrition, Animal Science). Their submission was titled "Optimizing food animal production systems for a better world", and will address 5 major challenges: 1) increasing caloric and nutritional efficiency of food animal production, 2) reducing environmental burden, 3) improving animal health and well-being, 4) improving human health, and 5) facilitating communication among industry, academia, and communities.

Visit Grand Challenges online to see this and other submissions.

Shurson Presents Data on Lipids

Oils and fats are among the most important ingredients used in animal feed. They are commonly added to livestock diets to increase energy density. However, their composition and quality is highly variable. Kemin Industries assembled a panel of animal nutrition experts in Herentals and Antwerp, Belgium to discuss the impact of lipids in animal nutrition. Dr. Jerry Shurson, who was invited as one of the experts, presented recent research information on managing variability in nutritional composition and oxidative quality among feed fat and oil sources at the conference. A summary article of these highlights and the other speaker topics was recently published in All About Feed.

Visit All About Feed online to read the full story: "Oils and fats in feed: precious, but neglected?".

Pork Network Reports on U of M Swine Research

Pork Network recently published a summary of U of M swine research being investigated by J.A. Mielke (Animal Science), Y. Ma (Food Science and Nutrition), M. Saqui-Salces (Animal Science), P.E. Urriola (Animal Science), C. Chen (Food Science and Nutrition), and G.C. Shurson (Animal Science). "Potential use of microalgae products in swine diets" is a study on microalgae as a sustainable, alternative feed ingredient. One of the most significant long-term challenges in feed and food animal production industries is to produce more food using fewer feed resources. Microalgae utilization in animal diets may reduce the negative environmental impacts on both food production systems and the environment. More information is necessary, however, before widespread use of microalgae in animal feeding programs.

Read more at Pork Network; see original article on the Swine Extension website.

Graduate Students Among Top 3 in Competitions at Crop Science Society Meeting

Three of our Animal Science graduate students did very well in competitions held at the 2015 Crop Science Society of America Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, in November. This meeting drew more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators and students from more than 50 countries.

Amanda Grev was awarded 3rd place in the Robert F. Barnes PhD Student Oral Competition. Her presentation was titled, "Yield, Preference and Forage Nutritive Value of Fall Planted Annual Grasses Under Horse Grazing at Two Maturities". Amanda is advised by Drs. Krishona Martinson, Craig Sheaffer, Scotty Wells and Marcia Hathaway.

Michelle Schultz was awarded 1st place and Devan Catalano placed 2nd in the Robert F. Barns MS Student Poster Competition. Michelle's presentation was titled "Forage Nutritive Value, Yield and Preference of Warm Season Grasses Grazed by Horses." She is advised by Drs. Marcia Hathaway, Krishona Martinson and Craig Sheaffer. Devan's presentation was titled "Forage Nutritive Value, Yield and Preference of Alfalfa and Clover under Horse Grazing". Devan is advised by Drs. Krishona Martinson, Craig Sheaffer and Marcia Hathaway.

Congratulations to Amanda, Michelle, and Devan!

Amanda Grev, Michelle Schultz and Devan Catalano

Above (L-R): Amanda Grev, Michelle Schultz, Devan Catalano

Meeker County 4-H Dairy Knowledge Bowl Team Places 2nd at National Contest

Minnesota's State Champion 4-H Dairy Knowledge Bowl team from Meeker County competed against 15 other state champion teams from throughout the U.S. at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY on November 6-7. The Meeker County team placed 2nd overall battling it out in a couple of close matches with New York (the 1st place winner). In fact, the winner of the first match with New York was determined by bonus points. James Gathje of Richmond placed 6th overall in the written test.

The Meeker County team included James Gathje and Katherine Gathje (Richmond), Sawyer Eblen (Belgrade), and Shelby Kuechle (Eden Valley). U of M Extension Educator Jim Salfer served as the team's coach. The team earned the trip by placing 1st in the Minnesota State contest in April.

Dairy Knowlege Bowl is a "quiz bowl" competition in which all questions are related to dairy topics. Teams of 4 to 6 members take a written test and also compete with each other in giving oral answers to questions posed by a moderator. Questions are on topics such as dairy nutrition, reproduction, milk quality, and judging. Teams receive points for correct answers and may lose points for incorrect answers. The team with the highest final score is the winner. The contest is organized on a double elimination basis with winning teams advancing into further rounds until a champion team is selected. 

For information on how to become involved in Dairy Project Bowl or 4-H, please contact the Meeker County Extension Office, at 320-693-5275 (toll free 1-877-993-5275), email, or visit the website:

2nd Place Team

Senior 4-H Dairy Knowledge Bowl Team
Front row (L-R): Jim Salfer (Coach), James Gathje
Back row (L-R): Katherine Gathje, Sawyer Eblen, Shelby Kuechle

And the Winners Are....

Congratulations to this year's top 3 winners of the annual Chili Cook-Off! Megan Nelson placed 1st, Nate McDonald placed 2nd, and Ryan Cox came in 3rd. Seven different chilis were entered this year and there were plenty of judges to determine which was the best tasting chili. Thank you from U of M Meat Science to everyone who entered, attended and helped judge the Chili Cook-Off on November 20th.

This friendly annual competition among the Departments of Animal Science and Food Science and Nutrition has become a fun tradition. We are all looking forward to another great cook-off next year!

The photo below was taken at this year's Cook-Off. More photos of the event are posted on the U of M Meat Science Facebook page:

2015 Chili Cook-Off

Changes at SW MN Dairy Profit Group

MN Dairy Initiatives logoThe Southwest Minnesota Dairy Profit Group has a new name, Minnesota Dairy Initiative-Southwest Region, and a new logo. In addition, Merri Post who, after 13 years with the group, is leaving to go to work full time at the family dairy. Keela Fick is replacing her as managing coordinator.

Keela currently lives in Luverne with her husband Josh, 5-month old baby girl Madalyn, and 3 dogs. They custom-raise beef cattle and hogs, and have a little bit of land along with a few hobby animals. Keela joined the dairy industry in high school when she started milking cows for a few farmers outside of Leota, MN, where she grew up. After graduating from Edgerton Public School, she attended Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar to study dairy science. Since graduating college in 2013, Keela has worked on robotic milking start-ups for Lely and as a program technician for Rock County Farm Service Agency. Contact Keela at or 507-290-0576.

Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI) is a federation of 6 regional partners (Southwest Region, Southeast Region, Northwest Region, West Central Region, Central Minnesota Dairy, and Dairy Profitability Enhancement Program) and several state-wide partners including the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Farming Association, Minnesota Milk Producers Association, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and other industry groups. MDI was established to energize a healthy and vibrant dairy industry in Minnesota with the mission to help existing and potential dairy producers to succeed through team-based on-farm education, resources, and networking.

Online Horse Pasture Establishment & Management Certificate Course Starts January 11

Horses on pastureU of M Horse Extension is offering an online, semi self-paced, 6-week certificate course focused on establishing and managing horse pastures in the Upper Midwest. Topics include pasture layout and design, pasture establishment, pasture mangement, pasture intake estimation, managing diseased horses on pasture, pasture resources, and pasture research updates. To earn a certificate, participants must receive at least 70% on three 10-point multiple choice quizzes and participate in three course discussions. If a certification is not wanted, there is no need to complete quizzes or participate in course discussions.

The Online Horse Pasture Establishment and Management Certificate Course is open to the public and limited to 150 participants. It is recommended for adult learners (ages 18 and older), but all ages are welcome. There is no college credit for taking this course. The course fee is $75 per person. Online registration is required by noon on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Please register at For assistance with online registration, please send email to or call 612-301-4357.

2016 Course Schedule:

  • Week of January 11: Pasture Layout and Design; Discussion #1
  • Week of January 18: Pasture Establishment; Quiz #1
  • Week of January 25: Pasture Management; Discussion #2
  • Week of February 1: Estimating Pasture Intake; Quiz #2
  • Week of February 8: Managing Diseased Horses on Pasture; Discussion #3
  • Week of February 15: Pasture Research Updates and Available Resources; Quiz #3

Questions? Please contact Krishona Martinson at or 612-625-6776.

Free Dairy Producer Education

CowsThe Winter Dairy Series, presented by the Dairy Profitability Enhancement Program and hosted by LeSueur, Rice and Scott Counties, are informal education sessions for dairy producers. Although the series is free, an RSVP is requested for the entire series or each session (contact Alison Benson at 952-466-5322 or Each session begins at noon and includes a light lunch, guest speaker, and group discussion.

2015-2016 Winter Dairy Series Schedule:

  • December 14 - Maximizing Profit During Low Milk Prices presented by Brant Groen, Director of Wellness, Form-A-Feed
    Location: U of M Extension-Scott County, 7151 W 190th Street, Jordan, MN
  • January 11 - Veterinary Feed Directive Rule Changes - Its Effect on Your Dairy presented by Minnesota Department of Agriculture
    Location: U of M Extension-Scott County, 7151 W 190th Street, Jordan, MN
  • February 8 - Mastitis Bugs, Old and New: Prototheca, Klebsiella, Lactococcus, and Mycoplasma presented by Erin Royster, Instructor, U of M College of Veterinary Medicine
    Location: State Bank of New Prague, 1101 1st Street SE, New Prague, MN
  • March 14 - Replacement Cost Strategy to Maximize Profit presented by Jim Salfer, U of M Extension Dairy Educator
    Location: State Bank of New Prague, 1101 1st Street SE, New Prague, MN
  • April 11 - Impact of Soil Fertility on Forage Quality presented by Dan Kaiser, U of M Extension Soil Scientist
    Location: U of M Extension-Scott County, 7151 W 190th Street, Jordan, MN

"Moo-University" What is Your Pregnant Cow Worth?

The I-29 Dairy Outreach Consortium is offering the winter workshop series, "Moo-University" What is Your Pregnant Cow Worth?, at five locations in January 2016.

Workshop Dates and Locations:

  • January 11 - Mandan, ND: Baymont Inn & Suites, 2611 Old Red Trail
  • January 12 - Watertown, SD: Codington Expo Building, 1910 West Kemp Avenue
  • January 13 - Pipestone, MN: Pizza Ranch, 108 West Main Street
  • January 14 - Orange City, IA: Sioux County Extension Office, 400 Central Avenue NW
  • January 15 - Norfolk, NE: Lifelong Learning Center at NECC, 601 East Benjamin Avenue

Speakers and Topics:

  • Synchronization 101 - Ryan Breuer, DVM, Iowa State University  
  • Genomics and Genetics: Optimizing Your Choices - Jim Paulson, U of M Extension  
  • Managing Personnel to Maximize Your Profits - Tracey Erickson, South Dakota State University & Dr. JW Schroeder, North Dakota State University  
  • Using Records to Keep Your Herd Performing - Jim Salfer, U of M Extension 
  • Reproduction and Economics - Robert Tigner, University of Nebraska

The registration fee is $50 per person ($65 per person after December 31, 2015) and includes lunch, refreshments, and all proceedings. Milk Producers Association of North Dakota, South Dakota Dairy Producers, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, and Nebraska State Dairy Association will pay the $50 tuition for their dairy farmer members. College and technical school students each pay only $20 ($25 per student after December 31) for the conference. Please register online at For alternative ways to register, please contact Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist, at 605-882-5140 or

Moo-University partners and hosts include U of M Extension, Minnesota Dairy Initiative-Southwest Region (formerly SW MN Dairy Profit Group), ISU Extension and Outreach, IA State Dairy Association, NE Extension, NE State Dairy Association, NDSU Extension Service, SDSU Extension, and SD Dairy Producers.

MN Pork Congress is January 19 & 20

Minnesota Pork Congress, the Midwest's BEST swine specific tradeshow and education event, will be held on January 19 and 20, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Pork Congress features a wide variety of tradeshow exhibitors, timely seminars, and social activities designed exclusively for pig farmers and pork industry stakeholders. This year's seminars will highlight information on the common swine industry audit, PRRS, water regulations, antibiotic use, PEDV, trade, and much more.

For more information about the Minnesota Pork Congress, please visit

MN Pork Congress 2016

Two $1000 UMDIA Scholarships to be Awarded in 2016

UMDIA logoIn an effort to recognize students who are pursuing post-secondary education in a field that will enhance the quality and safety of dairy and food products, the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA) will be awarding up to two educational scholarships of $1000 each. Students who plan to complete a degree in Animal Science with dairy production emphasis, Dairy Science, Large Animal Veterinary Medicine, Dairy Manufacturing, Dairy Technology, or Dairy Food Science are eligible to apply. See UMDIA Scholarship Application criteria and get the application form here. Apply by January 31, 2016.

UMDIA is a non-profit organization that promotes the dairy industry by providing information, educational services, networks and contests that encourage improvement in the quality and safety of dairy and food products. Visit the UMDIA website for more information.

♦ Condolences ♦

Norman Bosch

Norman Bosch passed away on November 20, 2015 at his home in Montevideo. He was 79. Norman graduated with distinction from the U of M, College of Agriculture in 1958 with a B.S. degree in Animal Husbandry. After graduation, Norman and his wife Wilma returned to the home farm in Grace Township where he farmed from 1958 to 2011. Norman was active in the United Methodist Church, was a 4-H leader, served on the Chippewa County Fair Board for over 25 years and the First National Bank board for over 28 years. He was a humble, generous and faithful man who had a sense of humor and always found the good in people. A funeral service was held on November 24 at United Methodist Church in Montevideo. Memorials preferred to Minnesota 4-H Foundation, Montevideo United Methodist Church, and American Cancer Society (designate Prostate Cancer Research). Read his full obituary here.

♦ Graduate Student Profile ♦

Devan CatalanoDevan Catalano

Devan Catalano is pursuing a Master's degree in Animal Science under the advisement of Dr. Krishona Martinson. Devan's research focuses on equine nutrition. She has completed one project titled "Calculating Bodyweight Prediction Equations for Draft and Warmblood Horses", which was published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science in July of 2015. Devan is also working on a legume grazing trial with horses.

Devan grew up on the coast of Massachusetts and moved west to complete a B.S. of Equine Science at Colorado State University. After graduating, she spent a year at Kentucky Equine Research for an internship before moving to Minnesota. In her spare time, Devan enjoys hiking with her dog Casey and riding her 4-year Appaloosa horse Tio.

♦ Congratulations ♦

Howard Person, U of M Extension Educator in Pennington and Marshall counties, retired on November 30. Howard worked in Extension for 37 years. During his career, he focused his programming in crops, livestock and horticulture, although he offered programming in every topic area of AFNR.

♦ Calendar of Events ♦

- December -

1-3 - MMPA Dairy Conference & Expo, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud, MN.

3 - Pork Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

11 - PQA Plus & TQA Certification Class (1:00-4:00pm), Heintz Center, Rochester, MN. Contact: Colleen Carey at MN Pork Board, 1-800-537-7675. 

14 - Winter Dairy Series: Maximizing Profit During Low Milk Prices (noon), UM Extension-Scott County, Jordan, MN. RSVP to: Alison Benson, 952-466-5322.

17 - CFANS Fall College Assembly (10:00am-noon), 105 Cargill Bldg., St. Paul Campus.

17 - Winterfest, Department of Animal Science Holiday Get-together (noon), 365 Haecker Hall, St. Paul Campus.

24-25 - University closed.

- January 2016 -

6 - Sow Bridge Program (electronic presentation).

11, 18, 25 & Feb 1, 8 15 - Online Horse Pasture Establishment & Management Certificate Course. Contact: Krishona Martinson, 612-625-6776.

11 - Winter Dairy Series: Veterinary Feed Directive Rule Changes (noon), UM Extension-Scott County, Jordan, MN. RSVP to: Alison Benson, 952-466-5322.

11 - I-29 Dairy Conference "Moo-University": What is your Pregnant Cow Worth?, Mandan, ND.

12 - I-29 Dairy Conference "Moo-University": What is your Pregnant Cow Worth?, Watertown, SD.

12-14 - Dairy Strong Conference & Trade Show, Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, Madison, WI.

13 - I-29 Dairy Conference "Moo-University": What is your Pregnant Cow Worth?, Pipestone, MN.

14 - I-29 Dairy Conference "Moo-University": What is your Pregnant Cow Worth?, Orange City, IA.

15 - I-29 Dairy Conference "Moo-University": What is your Pregnant Cow Worth?, Norfolk, NE.

18 - University closed (Martin Luther King holiday).

19 - Spring break begins.

19-20 - Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN.

27-29 - 118th Annual Cattle Industry Convention & National Cattlemen's Beef Association Trade Show, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.

- February 2016 -

8 - Winter Dairy Series: Mastitis Bugs, Old & New (noon), State Bank of New Prague, New Prague, MN. RSVP to: Alison Benson, 952-466-5322.

9-11 - World Ag Expo, International Agri-Center, Tulare CA.

16 - Carver County Dairy Expo, Norwood Young America, MN. Contact: Abby Neu, 952-492-5386.

- March 2016 -

14 - Winter Dairy Series: Replacement Cost Strategy to Maximize Profit (noon), State Bank of New Prague, New Prague, MN. RSVP to: Alison Benson, 952-466-5322.

15-17 - 45th Annual Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, Saint Paul RiverCentre, St. Paul, MN.

17-19 - North American Farm & Power Show, Four Seasons Centre, Owatonna, MN.

- April 2016 -

11 - Winter Dairy Series: Impact of Soil Fertility on Forage Quality (noon), UM Extension-Scott County, Jordan, MN. RSVP to: Alison Benson, 952-466-5322.

- June 2016 -

8-10 - World Pork Expo, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, IA.