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Undergraduate Research Center

Ashton Bazzell

  • SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
  • Major: Animal Science and General Science
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Jessica Carter

Current Focus: Environmental Temperature Effects on Milk Production and Daily Activity of Dairy Cattle with Respect to Different Breeds

Project Description

In January 2021, I began my research with our cows at the MTSU dairy. This research stemmed over three seasons – Winter, Spring, and Summer – to determine if the increase in environmental temperatures negatively effects the daily amount of milk that a dairy cow produces. I, with the help of my faculty mentor Dr. Carter, have gathered 6 weeks worth of data in each of these three season including air temperatures and relative humidities and the temperature of the bedding that the cows lay on. I have also collected the cow data for each day that shows how much milk each cow produces as well as how much daily activity each cow exhibits. We are in the process of analyzing this data to determine if there is a specific temperature that allows the cows to produce the maximum amount of milk on a daily basis.

Why does this topic interest you?

This topic interests me because there is not a lot of data regarding how temperatures directly affect the milk production of a dairy cow. There is some research to show that cows prefer a temperature range of 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit, but I would like to find a more specific temperature to allow our cows to produce at a higher capacity. If our cows at the MTSU are more comfortable with the temperature of their environment, then they are more likely to produce more milk each day.

What are your professional aspirations?

After graduation from MTSU, I aspire to be a veterinarian. I am in the process of applying to veterinary school. I would like to become either a small animal or mixed animal veterinarian, since I have worked with both companion animal and large animal species. I have enjoyed my time in the veterinary field, and I truly hope that I can continue in the field in the future.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

My advice would be to start speaking with and building connections with your professors early. If you have an idea for a possible research topic, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. The relationships that you build with your professors are going to be ones that you will use your entire time through undergrad and even after! Even if your professor isn’t the right person to help you with your research, that professor will help you find the correct person for the job. Coming up with a research topic can be a long and strenuous process, so be patient! Trust yourself and your professors and be proud of yourself for taking the plunge into Undergraduate Research!

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Thursday, September 5th, 4:30pm

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Jamie Burriss, Ph.D., Director
(615) 494-7669

Casey Penston, Coordinator
(615) 809-4588

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