- Author: Stacey AMPARANO
We are pleased to introduce Dr. Pedro Carvalho, the newest addition to Desert REC. Dr. Carvalho started his position in Imperial County on August 1, 2020, as the Feedlot Management Specialist. UC ANR and Davis-ASD leadership has filled a critical academic position for the CA/AZ/MX desert region to be housed at Desert REC.
We had a chance to interview Dr. Carvalho below.
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up around my family's cattle and crop farm in the state of Goias - Brazil. Being raised in an agricultural family, with many agronomists, veterinarians, and animal scientists, I decided to attend the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS) – Brazil to pursue my bachelor's degree in Animal Science. During my time in college, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in many fields related to livestock production, such as agribusiness and pasture management, as well as beef cattle reproduction and nutrition. It was during my undergrad in 2012 that I had the opportunity to come to the United States for the first time to work as an intern at The Ohio State University in the beef cattle reproduction and nutrition labs.
Upon graduation, I worked for a private cattle nutrition company in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul - Brazil as the manager of the Program of Extension and Knowledge that the company has. The PEK is a program that takes knowledge from science to practice and focuses on producers, farmworkers, and college students. During this period, I had the opportunity to work directly with some of the company's clients in nutrition and management of beef cattle. However, most of my time was dedicated to organizing and conducting events to educate and train farmworkers, college students, and beef producers. The main goal of the events were to teach producers, farmworkers, and students in topics such as: “Mineral supplementation”, “Stepping up your finishing system”, “Beef cattle maternity management”, “Good practices of vaccine application”, “Animal welfare”, “Learning how to manage your salary”, and other topics related to beef cattle production and management.
In 2014, I came back to the United States to work as an intern at Dr. Tara Felix's Lab at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I started my master's in 2015 in the same lab, and in the fall of 2017, I presented my master thesis on “Enhancing the Feeding Value of Corn Crop Residues to Improve Beef Cattle Production”. After completing my master's degree at UIUC, I started my PhD program at The Pennsylvania State University, working with the same adviser (Dr. Felix). At Penn State, I conducted many research projects to enhance the efficiency of Holstein steers in the feedlot. Therefore, in the summer of 2020, I presented my PhD dissertation on “Strategies to Increase the Efficiencies of Holstein Steers in Feedlot Applications”.
What was the last project you led, and what was its outcome?
In my last research project at Penn State University, our goal was to compare the effects of 2 applications of a non-coated hormone implant in a 56 days window period versus 1 application of a coated hormone implant during the last 112 days of the finishing period of Holstein steers in the feedlot. The outcome from this experiment was that regardless of implant strategies used, Holstein steers feedlot growth performance and carcass characteristics were similar. I would like to point out here that the reason for why we decided to test the 56 days reimplantation window was due to previous findings from our lab, that suggests the Holstein steers have shorter hormone implant payout period than traditional beef breeds. However, more research needs to be conducted on this topic, and this is one of my goals here at the Desert Research and Extension Center.
Why did you choose to work with animals?
The fact that the majority of my family works in the cattle and crop business made a significant impact on my decision to keep working with animals. However, my dad, who is an animal scientist, always advised me to avoid working with animals because of the challenges that I would have in this career. As we can see, his advice didn't work well. I've always been passionate about beef cattle production, and after I decided to follow his steps, he and my mother have been great supporters for me to stay in the cattle business. My grandfather and one of my uncles who is a veterinarian are also great influences for me staying in the animal business.
What attracted you to work here?
There are many reasons that attracted me to work in the Imperial Valley. Among them is the opportunity to continue researching beef production from Holstein steers. During my Ph.D., I became passionate about these animals, and here in this part of the world is the best place to continue my previous work in feeding Holstein steers to beef production. The fact that Dr. Richard Zinn is also working in the research center made a significant impact on my decision as well. Dr. Zinn is an inspiration and somebody who I mirror to be in the future. Last but not least, being a native of South American, I am looking forward to living in a place that I don't have to remove snow from my sidewalks during the winter, once again, I think that I found the right place for that.
What are your plans for research and extension?
My plans as an extensionist and researcher at the Desert Research and Extension Center is to first understand what the needs are from our feedlot operations in Imperial County. After that, I plan to implement and conduct actions (research projects and on-farm training) to help our beef producers and farmworkers. I really hope that I can bring value to our stakeholders by providing information on nutrition and management, as well as helping to train and improve the lives of the workers in feedyards of our state.
What do you do in your spare time?
Barbecue and soccer. I am passionate about those 2 things, and I believe that both are great ways to bring family (the most important thing in life) and friends together. I love to be around people, and nothing better than sports and food to do that. Plus, by starting a fire and putting a steak on the grill, I'll be always supporting our beef industry. #EatMoreBeef
We look forward to seeing the impact of Dr. Carvalho's work at Desert REC. Welcome to UCANR and welcome to Imperial County.
For more information, please contact Dr Pedro Carvalho at firstname.lastname@example.org