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Thomas R. Overton   -   Professor

PhD from University of Illinois  
Graduate fields:   Animal Science
 
Area(s) of interest:   nutritional physiology, dairy cattle nutrition and management

Teaching: 

  • Animal Science 3550, Dairy Cattle Nutrition (joint with L.E. Chase)
  • Animal Science 4010, Senior Dairy Production Seminar
  • Veterinary Medicine 6558, Applied Dairy Nutrition for Practitioners (joint with L.E. Chase and D.V. Nydam)
  • Guest lecturer in Animal Science 341
  • Contributor to Cornell Dairy Fellows program

Professional Organizations: 

  • American Dairy Science Association

Email: tro2@cornell.edu

Current Research:

The primary objective of my total program is to support the productive efficiency and profitability of dairy farms in New York and beyond by focusing on developing management strategies to improve the well-being of dairy cows. My major focus within this program has been to increase our understanding of the metabolic changes that occur in dairy cows as they “transition” from late pregnancy to early lactation and develop ways to translate this knowledge into improved cow health and productivity on farms. This timeframe is generally considered to be the most critical of the lactation cycle of dairy cows because of increased risk for health disorders and because overall well-being of cows during this period largely determines subsequent productive and reproductive performance during lactation.

Recent research efforts in our group have determined that insulin resistance is an important metabolic adaptation that occurs in dairy cows during the transition period; however, modulation of specific aspects of insulin action through approaches similar to those used to treat Type II diabetes in humans may offer opportunity in cows to fundamentally decrease risk for health disorders. Other recent research efforts have focused on the relationships between specific aspects of nutritional management with health-related outcomes during this period.

An important component of this program is the conduct of research in cooperation with dairy farms in New York. Recent efforts conducted with partner dairies have focused on determining whether physiological markers of stress or immune function can be used to predict cows that subsequently have health disorders or compromised well-being during the transition period and early lactation. We believe that these approaches will enable dairy producers to target opportunities for improved management of transition cows on their farms in the future. In addition, we determined in partnership with New York dairy farms that frequent milking of dairy cows during early lactation only can result in improved performance without detrimental effects on cow health and that dry period length of high producing cows can be shortened without affecting subsequent performance or health. In addition, recent work has focused on field-level factors affecting milk component (fat and protein) production by dairy farms.

This research program supports the major thrust of my extension program, which is oriented primarily toward working with nutritionists, veterinarians, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and other industry professionals in conjunction with their dairy producers to improve transition cow well-being in addition to other comprehensive aspects of dairy cattle management. In addition, I provide primary leadership to shortcourses such as the Dairy Nutrition and Management shortcourse and the Advanced Dairy Nutrition and Management shortcourse that offer continuing education opportunities for agriservice professionals. I have become increasingly involved in leadership in the dairy industry and the educational programs that work with the dairy industry through my role as Associate Director of the statewide PRO-DAIRY program, which includes direct leadership of the Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops regional program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, through participation in the Northeast Dairy Leadership Team that was formed in July 2006, and through leadership roles within New York Dairy Task Force that was formed by the New York Center for Dairy Excellence in March 2007

Selected recent Cornell research publications:

Smith K.L., M. R. Waldron. L. C. Ruzzi, J. K. Drackley, M. T. Socha, and T. R. Overton. 2008. Metabolism of dairy cows as affected by prepartum dietary carbohydrate source and supplementation with chromium throughout the periparturient period. Journal of Dairy Science. 91:2011-2020.

Cho, J. C., T. R. Overton, C. G. Schwab, and L. W. Tauer. 2007. Determining the amount of rumen-protected methionine that corresponds to the optimal levels of methionine in metabolizable protein for maximizing milk protein production and profit on dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science. 90:4908-4916.

Moussavi, A. R., R. O. Gilbert, T. R. Overton, D. E. Bauman, and W. R. Butler. 2007. Effects of feeding fish meal and n-3 fatty acids on ovarian and uterine responses in early lactating dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 90:145-154.

Moussavi, A. R., R. O. Gilbert, T. R. Overton, D. E. Bauman, and W. R. Butler. 2007. Effects of feeding fish meal and n-3 fatty acids on milk yield and metabolic responses in early lactating dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 90:136-144.

Overton, T. R., and K. L. Smith. 2007. Modulation of adipose tissue metabolism in periparturient dairy cattle through prepartum administration of thiazolidinediones. Proceedings, ISEP- International Symposium on Energy and Protein Nutrition and Metabolism, Vichy, France. EAAP publication No. 124. Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands pp. 363-364.

Smith, K. L., S. E. Stebulis, M. R. Waldron, and T. R. Overton. 2007. Prepartum 2,4-thiazolidinedione alters metabolic dynamics and dry matter intake of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 90:3660-3670.

Tylutki, T. P., D. G. Fox, V. M. Durbal, L. O. Tedeschi, J. B. Russell, M. E. Van Amburgh, T. R. Overton, L. E. Chase, and A. N. Pell. 2007. Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System: A model for precision feeding of dairy cattle. Animal Feed Science and Technology. doi:10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2007.05.010

Waldron, M. R., A. E. Kulick, A. W. Bell, and T. R. Overton. 2006. Acute experimental mastitis is not causal toward the development of energy-related metabolic disorders in early postpartum dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 89:596-610.

Zahra, L. C., T. F. Duffield, K. E. Leslie, T. R. Overton, D. Putnam, and S. J. LeBlanc. 2006. Effects of rumen-protected choline and monensin on milk production and metabolism of periparturient dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 89:4808-4818.

Castaneda-Gutierrez, E., T. R. Overton, W. R. Butler, and D. E. Bauman. 2005. Dietary supplements of two doses of calcium salts of conjugated linoleic acid during the transition period and early lactation. Journal of Dairy Science. 88:1078-1089.

Smith, K. L., M. R. Waldron, J. K. Drackley, M. T. Socha, and T. R. Overton. 2005. Performance of dairy cows as affected by prepartum dietary carbohydrate source and supplementation with chromium throughout the transition period. Journal of Dairy Science. 88:255-263.

Contreras, L. L., C. M. Ryan, and T. R. Overton. 2004. Effects of dry cow grouping strategy and body condition score on performance and health of transition dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science. 87:517-523.

Overton, T. R., and M. R. Waldron. 2004. Nutritional management of transition cows: Strategies to optimize metabolic health. Journal of Dairy Science. 87:E105-E119.

Piepenbrink, M. S., A. L. Marr, W. R. Butler, T. R. Overton, M. Vázquez-Añón, and M. D. Holt. 2004. Feeding 2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio)-butanoic acid to periparturient dairy cows improves milk production but not hepatic metabolism. Journal of Dairy Science. 87:1071-1084.

Selected recent outreach publications:

Overton, T. R., K. L. Smith, and J. M. Ramos-Nieves. 2008. New concepts in nutritional management of transition dairy cows. Proceedings, California Animal Nutrition Conference, Fresno, CA. pp. 103-113.

Overton, T. R. 2007. Use of glycerol in dairy rations. Proceedings, Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers. Syracuse, NY. pp. 73-79.

Overton, T. R., D. E. Bauman, and A. L. Lock. 2007. Troubleshooting milk fat challenges on commercial dairy farms. Proceedings, Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop, Grantville, PA. pp. 19-27.

Ramos-Nieves, J. M., and T. R. Overton. 2007. Effects of prepartum cation-anion strategy on health and performance of dairy cows. Proceedings, Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers. Syracuse, NY. pp. 195-204.

Smith, K. L., and T. R. Overton. 2007. Administration of 2,4-thiazolidinedione during the prepartum period to improve health and performance of transition dairy cows. Proceedings, 8th Fall Dairy Conference. PRO-DAIRY and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Liverpool, NY. pp. 101-106.

Smith, K. L., and T. R. Overton. 2006. New opportunities for managing metabolism in transition dairy cows. Proceedings, Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers. Syracuse, NY. pp. 183-195.

Lock, A. L., T. R. Overton, K. J. Harvatine, J. Giesy, and D. E. Bauman. 2006. Milk fat depression: Impact of dietary components and their interaction during rumen fermentation. Proceedings, Cornell Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers. Syracuse, NY. pp. 75-85.

Overton, T. R., A. L. Lock, J. W. Perfield II, and D. E. Bauman. 2006. Troubleshooting milk fat challenges on commercial dairy farms. Proceedings, Eastern Nutrition Conference, Animal Nutrition Association of Canada. Guelph, ON.

Overton, T. R., M. R. Waldron, and K. L. Smith. 2006. Feeding strategies for transition cows. Proceedings, Eastern Nutrition Conference, Animal Nutrition Association of Canada. Guelph, ON.

Waldron, M. R., and T. R. Overton. 2006. Effects of inflammation on nutrition: Is sickness causing weakness in your diets? Proceedings, Southwest Nutrition Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Waldron, M. R., and T. R. Overton. 2006. Linking the incidence of metabolic disorders and infectious disease in periparturient dairy cows. Proceedings, California Animal Nutrition Conference, Fresno, CA. pp. 78-89.