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Undergraduate Research

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hconradt12

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I am currently working to conduct undergraduate research at my college in Wisconsin for a bachelor's degree in biology. I have to conduct research on anything of my choosing. I grew up on a beef farm (which my dad still runs) and am interested in performing research on something related to the farm. It is very open-ended on what I can research. Some ideas that have been thrown at me include to look at the water in drinking tanks for cattle, look at the soil of the farm, and to look at suckling/weaning times for calves to get their heaviest weights. These are all very broad and I haven't pinned down a topic yet. My dad said I can conduct research on his farm as long as it in no way harms anything there. My question is: do any of you have questions that you would like researched?
 

ChrisB

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Don't know if you carry calves past weaning or not, but performance on different watering methods is of interest to me. With waterers freezing in the winter and calves only having access to water during the day, (for when the waterer freezes at night) vs having access to water all the time. Also, warmer water vs ice cold water. You could measure feed intake and conversion with the different groups.
 

Bright Raven

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Congratulations on aspiring to be a biologist. Very close to my heart but I am bias.

As an undergraduate, you must be careful to limit the scope of your research. Trust me - been there, done that. Don't try to do a Doctorate dissertation when you only have limited time and resources.

You got to find something that can be done on a semester basis. Feed studies, fertility studies, etc. takes years. Please try to keep it simple and remember it has to fit your time frame.
 

Son of Butch

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Wisconsin college student research project?
Beer would seem a natural fit.

Craft beers, micro brews flavor and aroma and how they differ vs large brewery production flavor and acceptance.
or
You could research best beer pairings to compliment Wisconsin cheeses.
Wisconsin's answer to California Wine and Cheese parties.
or
types of yeast and how they effect brewing.
or
Farm related, Wisconsin grown hops vs Canadian hops and flavor profiles how they are produced
or
Wisconsin dairy related, specialty cheese production techniques.
or
Food Safety in beef processing, bacteria control practices and techniques in processing plants.

With so many areas of types of beer to explore in Wisconsin... it would make your parents proud. :)
 

TexasBred

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Butch is either drunk again, off his meds are completely ignored the OP's post. Enough of trying to be cute Butch. You ain't got it !!!!
 

wbvs58

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I would be interested about the quality of water in drinking troughs. I am the worse in the world with cleaning mine out ie never. I believe the quality is good though as long as it is not stirred up, the cows like drinking it any way.

Ken
 

Bestoutwest

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HDRider":19vs3cz6 said:
The demise of the small meat processor and the effect on local beef supply.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-con ... -bill/2657

This is a great topic, but isn't more for a sociologist or an economist? It's not really biologically related in my opinion, but a great topic nonetheless.

I feed mine twice a day when they need hay. I do it partly to get a look at them to make sure everyone is OK. Is there any research to suggest that there is any benefit to feeding once, or twice a day?
 

M-5

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wbvs58":2zn8if6j said:
I would be interested about the quality of water in drinking troughs. I am the worse in the world with cleaning mine out ie never. I believe the quality is good though as long as it is not stirred up, the cows like drinking it any way.

Ken

Do one with gold fish and one without. I'm a firm believer in how they keep them clean.
 

Aaron

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Dairy farmer told me when we drilled latest well (he was driller's helper) that cows prefer and do much better on hard water than soft water. I have asked a pile of oldtimers since then if they have ever heard this and no one has ever thought about it. The dairy farmer is Dutch, so it could be one of those old world verses. But I sure would be keen to know if hard or soft water does boost production over the other.
 

Bright Raven

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Hconradt

As an undergraduate research assignment, I assume it is a class function or a Research Problem course. Perhaps part of Senior Seminar. Thus, you have 4 months to complete your project. If you could confirm that, please.

You might want to consider a Parasitology problem. If you can find a cow that is down but still extant, you could do a complete corpse dissection and recover, identify, and preserve all the parasites both external and internal. Ideally, a cow that has not been treated for parasites.
 

greybeard

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ahh........
The Undergraduate
One word. Are you listening? Sulfur. There's a great future in sulfur in the cow business. Just think about it.
(just joking...good luck with your research!!)
 

bird dog

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Do animals do better on rain water than tap water or water from a pond?

A rainwater harvester once told me that the rainwater is much better due to the electricity from lightning. Better for plants and animals.

I'm a skeptic.
 

TexasBred

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bird dog":ora3tiin said:
Do animals do better on rain water than tap water or water from a pond?

A rainwater harvester once told me that the rainwater is much better due to the electricity from lightning. Better for plants and animals.

I'm a skeptic.

Absolutely true !! :nod:
 

Son of Butch

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TexasBred":27vhd3lp said:
Butch............... completely ignored the OP's post.
Biology isn't used in every aspect of the food industry?
National Food Safety might be the next big time future concern to public health.
Listeria, e-coli and salmonella control aren't serious concerns in meat processing?
Doesn't fit with biology as well as cattle weight gains?
Cheese making is complex and I believe would be interesting to study and perhaps learn something in the process.
Micro breweries are exploding in popularity and learning about the process (while having fun) could lead to valuable
knowledge in landing a job or starting a small business.

Beer and Cheese are what Wisconsin is renown for not only in the midwest, but throughout the world.
The idea is by throwing out a wide variety of topics the op finds something that catches their interest.
It's called brain storming.

p.s.
Raven's suggestion of study of cattle parasites is a good one, but may not appeal to Conrad.
In the end it's Conrad's decision to choose and the instructor has made it clear topics are wide open to student interest.
It's an under graduate project to develop student interest, not a doctorate thesis to solve industry problems.
 

boondocks

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I had fun in Microbiology class culturing out what grew on a cow's teats ;) Grow it out on different media/nutrients; do your various Gram stains and other tests....identify the organisms
 

HDRider

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Bestoutwest":3icymcja said:
HDRider":3icymcja said:
The demise of the small meat processor and the effect on local beef supply.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-con ... -bill/2657

This is a great topic, but isn't more for a sociologist or an economist? It's not really biologically related in my opinion, but a great topic nonetheless.

I feed mine twice a day when they need hay. I do it partly to get a look at them to make sure everyone is OK. Is there any research to suggest that there is any benefit to feeding once, or twice a day?
The biology angle is related to the government's position that bigger is safer for food contaminants and pathogens. I would argue bigger creates bigger problems.
 

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