This week we will be featuring another one of the faculty with our research project. Our newest communication student, Macey Hurst, spoke with Dr. Philip Lancaster about his educational and research background. Continue reading to see what Macey learned about Dr. Lancaster!
Dr. Phillip Lancaster is an Assistant Professor in the Missouri State University Darr College of Agriculture where his focuses are animal nutrition, animal breeding, and beef cattle production. He plays an important role in the success of the Beef and Forage Research project as he manages the cattle, among other responsibilities. I had the chance to speak with Dr. Lancaster earlier this week to find out more about his job and how he came to be such an integral part of the university and project.
Dr. Lancaster has been educated and employed around the country. He received his B.S. in Agriculture Science from Western Illinois University, M.S. in Ruminant Nutrition from University of Missouri, and PhD in Ruminant Nutrition from Texas A&M University. Following this, he held professional academic positions in the Department of Animal Science at both Oklahoma State University and University of Florida. So how did he and his wife, also Dr. Lancaster, assistant professor of agronomy, soil, and environmental sciences at MSU, come to reside in Southwest Missouri? “Sarah and I wanted to be closer to family, especially with two young boys. We started looking for faculty positions at universities in Missouri. We saw that Missouri State agriculture program was growing and had open positions in animal science and agronomy.”
This eventually led to both Lancasters accepting positions within the Missouri State University Darr School of Agriculture, now the Darr College of Agriculture. When I asked about his duties as an assistant professor, he said, “My position, like most other faculty in [the College of Agriculture], includes teaching, research, and service responsibilities. I teach animal nutrition, animal breeding and beef cattle production classes, perform research in the area of beef cattle nutrition and management, and serve the Missouri beef industry by educating producers.”
The research portion of his duties and extensive experience in the field led him to be a part of the Beef and Forage Research and Outreach project with the primary task of managing the cattle. I was curious as to how the idea came about. “This project is an extension of two things – MSU beef program and a project that myself, Sarah and several other faculty performed at Oklahoma State University. The objective of the project is to estimate the fertilizer value of feed inputs in a grazing system. With grain on grass finishing systems similar to MSU beef program, a considerable amount of nutrients are added to the pasture through feed because cattle only retain 5 to 30% of nutrients they consume. Our goal is to quantify the amount of nutrients.”
Dr. Lancaster tells me that the current stage of the project includes changing the facilities of the cattle and that the collected data could benefit operations in the future. “The grazing phase in year 1 is completed and cattle have been moved into 2 new finishing facilities – open dry lot pens and a covered finishing facility. Cattle will be fed until slaughter and carcass data will be collected. I expect to determine the fertilizer value of feed nutrients excreted in manure of grazing cattle, and in the future, be able to calculate a reduction in fertilizer application to pastures where cattle will be provided feed.”
Thank you to Dr. Lancaster for his involvement in research to make these practices more efficient and for taking his time to tell me more about it.