We strive to understand how livestock animals work, in particular, all kinds of ruminants. From digestive dynamics to physiological functions, we focus our research in operations and processes that regulate intake, performance as well as nutrient requirements and how they are biologically structured. Our main focus is to explain how various biological functions can be interconnected in livestock species or production systems and how they can change or be changed by particular environmental boundaries.
The Animal Nutrition and Microbiology Laboratory
Our laboratory is located in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition & Veterinary Science, Max Fleischmann Building, Rooms 112, 113, 114, and 223. The laboratory and shared equipment areas are fully equipped with in vitro systems that simulate animal digestion which allows us to perform state-of-the-art ruminant nutrition research. The MaNu lab is equipped with networked personal computers, multi-functional printers, and video and audio equipment. Additional computational resources are available within the Nevada Center for Bioinformatics and the University of Nevada's Computational Research Grid. We have office space available for graduate students and postdoctoral research associates. The lab is divided in cores where most wet chemistry analysis are performed. The nitrogen and mineral cores are equipped with Kjedahl analyzers providing various digestion blocks for protein, amino acids, and external marker analysis. Our inorganic material core is composed of furnaces, and flame absorption spectroscopy. The laboratory also holds a state of the art nutrient accessibility core equipped with Dual-flow continuous culture systems, various in vitro gas production systems, and situ simulation systems. The lipid chemistry core is fully equipped with various Gas chromatography systems, HPLCs, GT/TCs and GC/MS, ultra-freezers, and a freeze-dryer. Additional machinery include Sohxlet pre-fat extraction glassware, complete crude fat extractor with automatic solvent recycling capabilities, a fully automated fat extractor among others. The fiber chemistry core is fully equipped for determination of crude fiber, detergent system analysis and microNDF/ADF, determination of lignin and bound-to fractions.
Main Station Field Laboratory (MSFL)
Located ten miles east of UNR’s main campus, MSFL has approximately 950 acres of prime farmland, being 750 acres of irrigated land. From 160 to 200 acres are dedicated to alfalfa and grass (mainly orchard, Kentucky blue grass, wheat grass, foxtail and Russian wildrye) hay production. MSFL is the home of 267 Angus cattle, 112 Suffolk sheep, and Wolf Pack Meats (Nevada’s only USDA-inspected slaughter and packing facility). MSFL serves numerous research, education, and outreach activities for the University of Nevada, Reno and Nevada Agricultural Experimental Station. Livestock are maintained on irrigated pasture composed of mixed grasses and are rotated through the fields in order to maintain ample forage throughout the growing season; animals also have the possibility of being finished in the experimental feedlot. The penned area has a drylot facility with over 83500 sq. ft., being able to hold up to 550 animals at a time. The feedlot is equipped with Broadbent Feeding Systems (American Calan In., Northwood, NH) that control individual feed intake, and two 3000-lb capacity Super Data Rangers(American Calan In., Northwood, NH) for recording (up to 400 animal identities), mixing, weighing, feeding (programmable for up to 15 independent diets with up to 10 ingredients each) and orts management. The experimental station also has a full-time veterinarian for care of both commercial and research animals.
The Meat Science Laboratory
Located on the main UNR campus, the newly renovated Meat Quality Lab is equipped with texture and fat melting point analyzers, display cases for meat shelf life evaluation, chromameters, and processing, cooking, and cold storage equipment (knives, slicers, vacuum-packaging machines, grills, smokers, freezers, and refrigerators). The quality lab performs objective and subjective tenderness analysis, objective and subjective color analysis, fat melting point, and sensory evaluation, proximate analysis, and cooking loss evaluation. The lab also processes and prepares all samples for meat quality and food safety experiments.
Wolf Pack Meats
Located at MSFL, Wolf Pack Meats is a teaching-research meat processing plant established in 1967, which is one of the leading national educational facilities where students get first-hand experience. Wolf Pack Meats is a USDA-approved facility equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and spacious and climate controlled rooms.
Gund Ranch Research and Training Facility
Located 45 miles NE of Austin, Nevada. Since the 1970’s the 10,600 acres of commercial cattle ranch has been house of innumerous research projects on livestock grazing, alternative fuels, animal health and rangeland restoration. Gund holds grazing rights on adjoining lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It has cattle working areas and approximately a 700-animal herd.