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NMSU Students Win Animal Science Research Paper Awards

LAS CRUCES -- A New Mexico State University doctoral candidate won first place in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences ' 11th annual A. L. Neumann Scientific Paper Competition for Animal Science Graduate Students.

Frank Schneider of San Antonio, Texas, earned $200 and his name on a plaque for his efforts. Rami Kridli, another doctoral candidate, from Jordan, won second place and $100 in the competition. Both Schneider and Kridli are working with Dennis Hallford, a reproductive physiologist with NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station.

Schneider's presentation and paper dealt with his research on trying to increase the reproductive ability of ewe lambs in the Western United States. "Under range conditions, ewes normally achieve only a 50-percent conception rate," he said. "So, we're trying to increase that to get more lambs from the ewes during their first year."

He tried to hasten puberty onset by giving ewes a compound that inhibits production of the hormone rolactin which negatively affects puberty. Schneider said the treatment didn't hasten puberty, but further research is needed to see if it would increase conception rate.

Kridli's research also deals with sheep, which only breed seasonally each fall. He studied the period after lambing, to see if he could get the sheep to cycle in the spring after lambing.

"We're trying to get two crops of lambs each year per ewe," he said. "This would increase reproductive efficiency and increase profits for the producer."

He treated sheep with a drug that blocks the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been shown to negatively affect reproduction during the postpartum period. "We got some positive results, but we didn't get the sheep to cycle in the spring," Kridli said. "There may be other factors that we have to figure out to get the sheep to cycle."