Dairy research at the University of Delaware focuses on the general areas of dairy nutrition – with an emphasis on forage and silage production and rumen fermentation – and dairy cow health.
Dairy Nutrition and Silage Fermentation Laboratory
Forage and silage quality can have tremendous impacts on the production of dairy cows. The University of Delaware conducts a nationally and internationally recognized research program that investigates ways to maximize forage and silage quality and improve rumen fermentation. This research program, led by Dr. Limin Kung, has most recently examined the value of microbial inoculants that improve the aerobic stability of silages, the use of enzymes to improve feed efficiency, and a wide range of applied management strategies to enhance forage quality.
Ruminant Immune and Inflammatory
Bovine lameness in cattle causes behavior modifications such as decreased motion and disruption of feeding patterns. Losses attributed to lameness can cost the dairy industry upwards of $81 billion in lost revenue annually; perhaps more importantly, lameness is associated with detrimental effects on animal health and welfare for dairy cattle. At UD, significant research efforts are underway in two key areas: applied methods for automated, continuous detection of lameness in dairy cattle and the patho-physiology of lameness.
Ruminant Biology Laboratory
Research conducted in the Ruminant Biology Laboratory examines aspects of nutrition and immune function in dairy cows. Dr. Tanya Gressley works to uncover the role that circadian rhythms play in maintaining health and preventing disease.
Current research projects investigate circadian patterns of gene expression in white blood cells taken from healthy animals and animals with compromised immune systems. Future research projects will focus on the natural changes in white blood cell function that occur during the course of a day. Ultimately, understanding what keeps cows healthy will help them to live longer and more productive lives and will increase dairy profitability.