Dr. Dan Shike joined the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign in 2011. Dr. Shike is a native of Illinois and his family has 250 cows in western Illinois. Dr. Shike’s research focuses on identifying nutritional strategies and management practices that improve efficiency, reproduction and profitability in beef cow/calf production. He is interested in evaluating the entire beef cattle production cycle from conception to final product. Utilizing a systems approach, he wants to help beef cattle producers be more efficient and profitable.
Specifically, his work focuses on how nutrition and management of the cow during gestation and lactation not only impacts the reproductive performance of the cow but also what impacts this may have on the developing fetus and early postnatal life. Currently, he has studies evaluating the effects of gestational nutrition (fetal programming) on subsequent calf growth, efficiency and carcass traits. He also is investigating the effects of gestational nutrition on the female offspring including growth, efficiency, fertility and future milk production.
Additionally, Dr. Shike is working on the relationship of intake and measures of efficiency in the developing heifer and measures of intake and efficiency in the mature cow. Nearly 50% of all feed utilized in the beef industry goes to maintaining the cowherd. Very little is known about how much the cows eat while grazing and how efficient they are. His work will identify traits in the developing heifer that are correlated to improved efficiency in the mature cow. He also aims to identify management and nutritional strategies during the developing phase that could have lifelong impacts on efficiency of production.