Transcript


Highland Rim Research & Education Ctr.
Springfield
Chuck Denney
UT Institute of Agriculture


Dr. Barry Sims
Highland Rim Research & Education Ctr.
Dr. John Waller
UT Agricultural Experiment Station


Dr. Neal Schrick
UT Agricultural Experiment Station


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Chuck Denney
Beef cattle generate $500 million a year in Tennessee. At UTís Highland Rim Research and Education center, scientists look for ways to boost pregnancy rates with cattle.

Dr. Barry Sims
We think about the researchers, and theyíre our clients, but also our ultimate clients are the producers and also the consumers of the products - the steaks and hamburgers.

Chuck Denney
UT scientists say one way to increase reproductive health is through embryo transfers, and here theyíre working with a hormone called prostaglandin. To greatly simplify things, thereís good prostaglandin and bad. Obviously researchers want to keep one and eliminate the other.

Dr. Neal Schrick
Basically the embryo, the early embryo has receptors for prostaglandin and what happens is the prostaglandin will bind to those receptors and cause the embryo to be developmentally retarded.

Chuck Denney
Beef producers can expect typical success rates of 40 to 70 percent with most embryo transfers. But if you could increase that by ten percent - which is what UT researchers did Ė then the economic impact is tremendous. Past reproductive research mainly looked at females, but now scientists are focusing more on bulls and steers, and their overall health. A key issue here is what the males eat. Kentucky 31 is a type of grass thatís common statewide, but it can contain toxins that reduce the fertility of bulls. UT researchers have done studies here at Highland Rim that show replacing that fescue with another called Max Q can help fertility.

Dr. Barry Sims
In the case where a producer might have some acres or pastures where he needs to renovate, then year, Max-Q might be an option for him.

Chuck Denney
One management issue for farmers here Ė Max-Q is like candy to a bull or steer.

Dr. John Waller
The thing we have to caution producers on - itís going to require more management because cattle love to eat this. They donít particularly like to eat Kentucky 31 infected fescue. So our data indicates youíve got to plan on those cattle consuming about 25 percent more.

Chuck Denney
Whether through embryo transfers or a carefully monitored diet - like many aspects of agriculture, beef production is changing with technology. It would seem the days of just turning cattle loose and letting them graze are long gone.

This is Chuck Denney reporting.