Dairy Cattle Research


Research in dairy cattle nutrition includes:

  1. Forage evaluation in lactating cows using production and metabolism studies and chemical, physical, instrumental and in vitro analysis,
  2. silage preservation techniques and evaluation studies,
  3. efficiency of dietary protein and energy utilization in lactating cows and replacement heifers, including studies of digestion, absorption, microbial protein synthesis, and
  4. effects of dietary supplements on performance and fermentation.

Heat Stress Physiology and Management

The heat stress physiology and management program focuses on the applied and basic research to understand how hyperthermia affects dairy cattle and seek appropriate management and nutritional approaches to copy with the negative impacts of heat stress on cow and calf. Research includes:

  1. Effectiveness of different cooling system on heat stress abatement of lactating dairy cows
  2. The effect of dietary ingredients, supplements, and composition on metabolic heat production and animal performance under heat stress
  3. The impacts of the heat stress on mammary gland development during lactating and non-lactating periods
  4. The effects of maternal heat stress during gestation on offspring’s health, metabolism and growth
  5. The direct impact of heat stress on growth, metabolism and health of neonatal calf

Milk and Mastitis Quality

The Mastitis and Milk Quality program in the Animal and Dairy Science Department at UGA is focused on basic and applied studies on improving mammary gland health and the quality of milk products in dairy cows as well as in goats, horses, and sheep. Specific research areas include:

  1. The development of challenge models to induce intramammary infections,
  2. study of vaccination protocols to prevent mastitis,
  3. evaluation of antibiotic therapeutic regimens to cure infections,
  4. use of fly control programs as prevention strategies,
  5. efficacy evaluation of novel intramammary therapies,
  6. development of mastitis control programs for dairy heifers, and
  7. use of immunostimulants as dietary supplements to control mastitis

Reproductive Physiology

The reproductive physiology program focuses on applied research to understand variables influencing cyclicity and pregnancy maintenance while working towards mechanisms and methodologies to overcome reproductive inefficiencies.  Research areas include: 
1. Assessing the validity of reproductive programs based on cow level and whole farm factors
2. Evaluating the impact of biological factors such as anti-Müllerian profiles as well as genomic data on reproductive efficiency and productive life
3. Determining the influence of inflammatory responses, particularly associated with vaccinations, on reproduction
4. Examining factors that influence the resumption of cyclicity postpartum and the impact of delayed resumption on reproductive efficiency within a lactation
5. Analyzing how voluntary milking systems (VMS) influence reproductive patterns and behaviors
6. Comparing activity monitoring systems (AMS) for accuracy of heat detection in conventional versus VMS farms while determining effective breeding suggestions related to activity level and/or alerts


Heat stress physiology and management

Sha Tao
Sha Tao Associate Professor
Animal & Dairy Science

Mammary Health and Milk Quality

Reproductive physiology

Jillian Bohlen
Jillian Bohlen Associate Professor
Animal & Dairy Science