Why are these teens all smiles?

Gavin Simmons, Ian Siegusmund, Morgan Sanchez, Lukas Simmons, Mishelle Frame, and Torree Spatig of Uinta County are among the first enrolled in ANSC 1009. The UW course is open to all Wyoming 4-H’ers in high school.

They’re honing their animal production skills (and earning college credit) in a new University of Wyoming course, Introduction to Animal Science (ANSC 1009), which connects high school students with UW via field experiences, extension workshops, online content, and Zoom conference calls with animal science professors. To read more and learn ways UW Extension connects with Wyoming, see CONNECT 2017.

Doug Hixon received the Beef Improvement Federation Pioneer Award at the organization’s annual convention in Manhattan, Kan., last week. Hixon was a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science from 1982 until his retirement in 2013.
Doug Hixon received the Beef Improvement Federation Pioneer Award at the organization’s annual convention in Manhattan, Kan., last week. Hixon was a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science from 1982 until his retirement in 2013.

Former University of Wyoming animal science department head Doug Hixon received a Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Pioneer Award June 16 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Manhattan, Kan.

Professor Emeritus Hixon joined the UW animal science faculty in 1982 and worked as a professor, researcher and extension beef cattle specialist for 19 years before being named department head in 2001. In that role, he oversaw an integrated program in teaching, research and extension. He retired in 2013.

The Pioneer Award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle and honors those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle, according to the BIF.

A native of Donovan, Ill., Hixon earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science at the University of Illinois.

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UW research seeks whether manipulating rumen microbes can increase feed efficiency

Kristi Cammack
Kristi Cammack

University of Wyoming scientists will use a $500,000 National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to study if microbes in the rumen could be influenced to improve beef cattle feed efficiency.

The four-year study led by Kristi Cammack in the Department of Animal Science will examine the effect of microbes in the rumen on calf performance. The study will also include collaborators at the University of Missouri and Virginia Tech. The first two years will be animal trials and data analysis, including DNA testing, the last two years.

Feed is the greatest cost for beef producers, Cammack said, and improving feed efficiency is important to the sustainability of beef production.

Better feed efficiency in beef cattle could help a producer’s bottom line and make more efficient use of grazing lands.

“Our aim is to determine how a calf’s genetic background, mother and birth environment affect the microbes in the rumen, and how those microbes relate to the calf’s performance in later life,” she said.

Cammack will use two biologically different breeds recognized for differences in growth rates and yield – Angus and Charolais – to determine the genetic contribution of rumen microbes. Her research will test the breed differences, the postnatal effects and the perinatal effects.

Rumen samples will be used for DNA sequencing to determine microbial composition and fatty acid analysis.

“This information will be used to determine how the rumen microbes may be influenced to improve feed efficiency,” she said.

UW equine program seeks to expand opportunities throughout state

Jenny Ingwerson
Jenny Ingwerson

The University of Wyoming has a pony mascot (Cowboy Joe), a bucking horse logo and a new charge to expand its equine studies program.

Enter Jennifer Ingwerson. Ingwerson joined the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences in August 2014 to take the reins of the equine program within the Department of Animal Science.

The program encompasses academic teaching, UW Extension and coaching the Collegiate Horse Judging and Ranch Horse Versatility teams, activities that roughly define the seasons.

“Fall is competitive season,” said Ingwerson.

The Versatility Ranch Horse competition raises awareness and appreciation of the working stock horse with ranch trail, reining, ranch pleasure and working cow horse events. 

This year, UW Ranch Horse team members compete against other collegiate teams in two shows in Colorado.

Unlike the Ranch Horse Team, which is a club, Collegiate Horse Judging Team members enroll in the advanced equine evaluation and selection course. Ingwerson coaches students to evaluate horses on breed standards for conformation and performance.

The ideal is not, however, a collection of standards. Students learn how conformation relates to overall function and longevity of the animal. For example, team members must know arm from elbow, pastern from poll and be able to recognize a trappy (choppy) or rope-walking stride (both undesirable). Competitive horse judging develops skills in observation, organization and verbal communication. Continue reading UW equine program seeks to expand opportunities throughout state

New head of animal science says University of Wyoming right fit

Mike Day
Mike Day

Didn’t take long for a department of people armed with ample expertise and opportunities for growth to change a 30-year Buckeye into a Cowboy.

Mike Day became head of the Department of Animal Science the end of July, ending his career with The Ohio State University and beginning a new one at the University of Wyoming.

“My list was pretty short of where I wanted to go,” said Day, a professor and now former graduate program studies chair in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Columbus. “Wyoming fit well with me.”

UW seemed just the right fit. He’s taught, he has domestic and international research projects and he extended OSU resources to producers.

Associate professor Warrie Means, who served as interim department head during the two-year journey to fill the position, said department personnel were excited to have Day join.

“He’s an excellent researcher, has a very good track record in publications and has received national recognition,” said Means. “His interests are aligned with Wyoming. It’s excellent we were able to attract a high-quality candidate like Mike.”

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