Quantifiable Animal Performance

Animals provide high-quality foods (e.g., meat and milk) for human consumption, as well as raw materials such as wool and leather for clothing and accessories. Ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats, are biological transformers that can convert high-fiber feedstuffs (e.g., forages) and low-quality human-inedible byproduct feeds (e.g., distillers dried grains) into nutrient-dense protein foods. Others, such as horses, are used for working (e.g., ranching draft), transportation, recreation, and therapy. Thus, animal agriculture plays an essential role in improving human nutrition, growth, development, and health, as well as economic and social developments worldwide.

Influential innovation in animal production

The goal of the Quantifiable Animal Performance (QAP) Area of Excellence is to integrate emerging technologies that translate laboratory and field data to improve animal performance, resulting in enhanced animal and human health and wellbeing. Specific goals include:

  • Emerging technologies. Apply artificial intelligence and big data analytics to develop individual-animal management systems and decision support systems to improve economic and environmental sustainability through improved animal health and productivity.
  • Applied field research. Animal-health monitoring systems to mitigate the economic impact of bovine respiratory disease and improve animal welfare and automated heat detection technologies to improve reproductive performance in dairy cows.
  • Fundamental field research. Improve amino acid nutrition for animal growth, lactation, and reproduction through primary research on the molecular, cellular, hormonal, and nutritional regulation of amino acid metabolism. Develop an objective measure of taste in animal products.

World leader in animal performance

This Area of Excellence allows us to serve as a world leader in QAP and to create and utilize novel models and critical metrics for evaluation and assessment of animal performance across species and disciplines. This specialty will enhance livestock and equine industries through the development and distribution of information and strategies for the optimization of animal performance to students, producers, industry professionals, and the public. Discovery and innovation in quantifiable animal performance are critical for the assessment of animal production and value. Recognizing that this area both influences and is influenced by a variety of social and environmental factors, it is necessary to develop models for evaluation of relationships and impacts. Areas of applications include:

  • preclinical detection and mitigation of infectious and metabolic diseases, 
  • technology development for real-time monitoring of animal welfare, 
  • development of precision-nutrition technologies to improve the efficiency of feed use, and reduce rates of carbon dioxide and methane emissions per unit of output,
  • antimicrobial replacements,
  • muscular endurance and athletic capability,
  • real-time detection of the onset of estrus and parturition,
  • optimized feed delivery in confinement situations,
  • evaluation of forage quality and monitoring of stocking rate in grazing animals,

Graduate Student Assistantship Program

The student’s research area should focus on quantifiable animal performance that fits the following mission statement: The Quantifiable Animal Performance Area of Excellence integrates emerging technologies that translate laboratory and field data to improve animal performance, resulting in enhanced animal and human health and wellbeing. Apply Now!

Research and publications in the Areas of Excellence

Department of Animal Science Areas of Excellence

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