Eight thousand miles away from home, Dr. Songul Senturklu finds common ground with beef cattle research.
She is the central figure in an academic research exchange program between the Republic of Turkey, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University and the NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center.
Senturklu’s knowledge and experience will be part of the 2012 Beef Cattle and Forage field day Aug. 29, at the Dickinson Research Extension Center ranch southwest of Manning, N.D.
Senturklu said she is excited to be working with the DREC staff. She spent from November 2010 until October 2011 working with Kris Ringwall, DREC director, Doug Landblom, beef cattle specialist and other DREC staff, returning in June 2012 to continue the ongoing beef cattle research.
Her presentation at the Aug. 29 Beef Cattle and Forage field day will be “Forage-based replacement heifer development,” one of nine during the day-long program.
Senturklu is an animal scientist teaching agricultural class at the university in Canakkale, Turkey.
“I work in the animal science department and my primary interest is animal nutrition,” she said.
“I have been studying animal science for 15 years in both education and professional jobs.”
She hopes to expand her knowledge base and collect new management concepts and research ideas during her tenure at the DREC.
Senturklu’s presence as a guest researcher at DREC is not by chance.
“The DREC is an industry leader in beef cattle husbandry. By coming here, I hope to take that knowledge I learn about American agriculture and my experiences back to Turkey.
Turkey is a very strong American ally and in the last two years has imported a significant number of America beef cattle.”
Senturklu’s appointment to come to the DREC is a continuation of a relationship between Turkey and its scholars.
Turkish engineer Unal Kizil served as a biosystems engineer at the DREC in the mid-1990s and referred Senturklu to the DREC.
Ringwall said, “This is about relationships. We have a relationship with Unal and we are continuing to strengthen relationships with Turkey.”
Sharing research methods and information is a goal of the short-term scholar exchange.
“Information sharing is so important. The people of the world will be the winners,” Senturkli said.
“Feed and food safety biosecurity control systems are very important issues in Turkey, because of the countries strategic location situated in the geographical center between Asia, Europe and Africa.”
She said agriculture research in the U.S. is making important contributions to animal farming in the world of scientific operations.
“Information sharing is so important.
The people of the world will be the winners,” she said.
With Landblom, Senturklu is concentrating her efforts in several of the beef cattle research projects at the DREC.
One research area is a long-term Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education project evaluating the economics of integrating beef cattle and a diverse cropping system.
Within the project, soil health, and crop diversity are being used to determine the extent that chemicals and fertilizer can be reduced without negatively impacting net return.
Extended grazing of yearling steers is being studied as a way to shorten the finishing period.
Meat tenderness and eating experience are also being evaluated.
Senturklu was attracted to the concept of growing annual forages for grazing and is especially interested in crop residue grazing, which seems very unusual to her.
She praised the animal husbandry of America, the use of data to improve management and the high level of production per animal.
She said producing winter feed for beef cattle is difficult in Turkey, especially during the winter.
“In our country, the farmers are not able to put up enough quality forage for their animals, and forage is usually expensive.
Beef management techniques in Turkey are much different. She said, “There are different levels of efficiency.
In Turkey we feed animals in shelters, because the shelters have solved the issue of extreme cold but this is expensive and low yielding (in terms of weight gain, meat quality, and reproductive performance).”
She is amazed North Dakota producers winter cattle outdoors and still get high production.
Senturklu is adamant about the need for high quality nutrition.
“Also, my intention for being here in America and being at the DREC is to learn about new beef cattle feeding methods that I can take home and share with Turkish producers,” she said.
“Our country only has foreign origin cattle breeds (Black-Friesian, Brown Swiss) and some indigenous breeds (Indian Land, East Anatolian Red, and South Red.
A sufficient level of quality breeding animals cannot be produced in our country,” she said. The number of enterprises in seedstock production is very small resulting in quality seedstock deficit.
She said the competition in Turkey from sheep is very intense because sheep can subsist on marginal forage. “Turkey is one of the best (sheep producing countries) in the world,” Senturklu said.
As a scientist, Senturklu has been especially impressed with intensity of animal husbandry.
“Farmers are happy and hopeful,” she said, and she is impressed with the attitude of the people in North Dakota. “There is value in life knowing the people here,” she said.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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