Wenzhu Yang, Ph. D.

Image Wenzhu Yang
Research Scientist

As a senior research scientist in ruminant nutrition and feeding management, leads projects and collaboration on scientific studies that:

•  Develop feeding strategies for improving feed efficiency and production of ruminants.

•  Evaluate the impact of physically effective fibre and rumen fermentability of feeds on rumen acidosis and animal health.

•  Develop novel feed additives such as plant-derived compounds, feed enzymes, probiotics as rumen modifiers to reduce the use of antibiotics and growth promoters in ruminant.

•  Enhance the use of feed grain in beef cattle by identifying the best variety and improving processing technology.

Current research and/or projects

Collaborator. G. Penner, W.Z. Yang, T. McAllister, K.A. Beauchemin, K. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, Y. Wang and others. Determining the minimum fibre requirement for feedlot cattle and improving the empirical prediction of ruminal pH. Beef Cluster and BCRC, 2018-2023.

Collaborator. T. McAllister, W.Z. Yang, H. Randhawa, K. Beauchemin, K. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, R. Gruninger and others. Further strategies to enhance the use of wheat grain in feedlot diets. Beef Cluster and BCRC, 2018-2023.

Collaborator. G. Ribeiro, G. Penner, B. Lardner, T. McAllister, K.A. Beauchemin, W.Z. Yang, R. Gruninger and E.C. Stephens. Effect of forage inclusion strategy on finishing beef cattle performance and liver abscess. BCRC/ABP, 2020-2022.

Principal Investigator. W. Z. Yang, L.Y. Chen, K. Ominski and E. McGeough. Evaluation of red osier dogwood extract as alternative to antibiotics to improve growth and health of newly weaned calves. Ag Action Manitoba Program-Research and Innovation, 2019-2021.

Co-PI. T. McAllister, W.Z. Yang, J. Nyachiro and others. Development of a rapid screening method to assess grain processing responses of barley as a trait for the selection of feed varieties for cattle. Alberta Agriculture and forestry, 2017-2021.

Principal Investigator. W. Z. Yang, T. McAllister. Use of phytogenic feed additive as alternatives to in-feed antibiotics for improving production efficiency, carcass traits and health of finishing beef cattle. Biomin (Austria), 2019-2021.

Collaborator. T. Alexander, W. Z. Yang, T. McAllister, K. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, R. Menassa, E. Topp and others. Technology development of alternatives to subtherapeutic and metaphylactic antimicrobials used in the beef industry. AAFC (GF2), 2016-2020.

Collaborator. T. Alexander, W. Z. Yang. Using a microbiome-based strategy to develop next generation bacterial therapeutics for mitigating bovine respiratory disease. AAFC (GF2), 2018-2021.

Co-PI. T. McAllister, W.Z. Yang, Effect of essential oils blends and polysorbate supplementation on rumen fermentation, feed digestion, anti-oxidative status and performance of lambs. 2018-2020.

Principal Investigator. W.Z. Yang, T. Alexander, K.A. Beauchemin and L.Y. Chen. Develop value-added applications of by-products derived from food processing. AAFC (GF2), 2016-2019.

Principal Investigator. W. Z. Yang, T. Alexander, K.A. Beauchemin, B.A. Ametaj and L.Y. Chen. Use of probiotics to improve production efficiency and health of cattle. Alberta Agriculture and forestry, 2015-19.

Research and/or project statements

  • Beef cattle nutrition and feeding management
  • Digestive physiology and digestion kinetics
  • Feed grain processing
  • Feed additives
  • Feed efficiency and animal health

Professional activities / interests

Associate Editor, Journal of Animal Feed Science and Technology (2020 – present).

Dr. Yang publishes in the areas of agronomy and crop science and has been the author or co-author of over 178 peer-reviewed research articles, 7 book chapters and 6 review articles.

Management and mentoring of several technical and support staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists.

Adjunct Professor - University of Alberta, 2013 – 2023.

Adjunct Professor, Shanxi Agriculture University, China, 2006-2011.

Director of expert committee, China-Canada Beef Industry Alliance (2017 – present).

Education and awards

Ph.D., Ruminant Nutrition, University of Blaise Pascal, France, 1991

M.Sc., Animal Nutrition, Université Clermont-Ferrand II, France, 1987

B.Sc., Animal Science, Shanxi Agriculture University, China  1982

International experience and/or work

1. Co-supervising Chinese Ph.D. exchange students in collaboration with (3) Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, (1) Yangzhou University, (1) Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University.

2. Collaborative research with an international research team for 1) FAO project entitled: “Regionally appropriate and effective livestock non-CO2 mitigation packages” (16 members from 4 countries; 2012-2013); 2) the Global Network Nitrogen Database Project to create a  database of individual animal data that will be used to develop robust models to predict manure nitrogen excretion from ruminant animals. Dr. A.N. Hristov (lead), Pennsylvania State University. 2019-2021.

3. As Director of expert committee of China-Canada Beef Industry Alliance, closely work with Canadian and Chinese beef industry to develop the collaboration between the two industries and to promote Canadian beef products in Chinese market.

Key publications

  1. Yang, W.Z., Lima, P., Ramirez, S., Schwandt, E., McAllister, T.A. 2023.Impact of a phytogenic feed additive on growth performance, feed intake and carcass traits of beef steers. Applied Animal Science. in press.

    2023 - View publication details

  2. Ran, T., Jin, L., Abeynayake, R., Saleem, A.M., Zhang, X., Niu, D., Chen, L., Yang, W. (2021). Effects of brewers’ spent grain protein hydrolysates on gas production, ruminal fermentation characteristics, microbial protein synthesis and microbial community in an artificial rumen fed a high grain diet. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, [online] 12(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40104-020-00531-5

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Ran, T., Fang, Y., Wang, Y.T., Yang, W.Z., Niu, Y.D., Sun, X.Z., Zhong, R.Z. (2021). Effects of grain type and conditioning temperature during pelleting on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, meat quality and blood metabolites of fattening lambs. Animal, [online] 15(3), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.animal.2020.100146

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Ran, T., Saleem, A.M., Beauchemin, K.A., Penner, G.B., Yang, W. (2021). Processing index of barley grain and dietary undigested neutral detergent fiber concentration affected chewing behavior, ruminal pH, and total tract nutrient digestibility of heifers fed a high-grain diet. Journal of Animal Science, [online] 99(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skab011

    2021 - View publication details

  5. Li, C., Beauchemin, K.A., Yang, W. (2020). Feeding diets varying in forage proportion and particle length to lactating dairy cows: I. Effects on ruminal pH and fermentation, microbial protein synthesis, digestibility, and milk production. Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), [online] 103(5), 4340-4354. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17606

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Zhao, Y.L., Yan, S.M., Beauchemin, K.A., Yang, W.Z. (2020). Feeding diets varying in forage proportion and particle length to lactating dairy cows: II. Effects on duodenal flows and intestinal digestibility of amino acids, 103(5), 4355-4366. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17607

    2020 - View publication details

  7. Ribeiro, G.O., Gruninger, R.J., Jones, D.R., Beauchemin, K.A., Yang, W.Z., Wang, Y., Abbott, D.W., Tsang, A., McAllister, T.A. (2020). Effect of ammonia fiber expansion-treated wheat straw and a recombinant fibrolytic enzyme on rumen microbiota and fermentation parameters, total tract digestibility, and performance of lambs. Journal of Animal Science, [online] 98(5), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa116

    2020 - View publication details

  8. Shen, Y., Davedow, T., Ran, T., Saleem, A.M., Yoon, I., Narvaez, C., McAllister, T.A., Yang, W. (2019). Ruminally protected and unprotected Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products as alternatives to antibiotics in finishing beef steers, 97(10), 4323-4333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz270

    2019 - View publication details

  9. Holman, D.B., Yang, W., Alexander, T.W. (2019). Antibiotic treatment in feedlot cattle: A longitudinal study of the effect of oxytetracycline and tulathromycin on the fecal and nasopharyngeal microbiota. Microbiome, [online] 7(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40168-019-0696-4

    2019 - View publication details

  10. He, Z.X., Ribeiro, G.O., Beauchemin, K.A., McAllister, T.A., Yang, W.Z. (2019). Inoculum source and transfer of rumen contents from bison to cattle improved in vitro gas production and feed digestibility, but not the responses to exogenous enzymes supplementation. Animal Feed Science and Technology, [online] 248 37-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2019.01.005

    2019 - View publication details

  11. Shen, Y., Zhao, F., Yu, L., Yang, W., Wang, M., Wang, H. (2019). Starch sources and concentration in diet of dairy goats affected ruminal pH and fermentation, and inflammatory response. Animal Production Science, [online] 59(9), 1640-1647. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN17758

    2019 - View publication details

  12. Shen, Y., Chen, L., Yang, W., Wang, Z. (2018). Exploration of serum sensitive biomarkers of fatty liver in dairy cows. Scientific Reports, [online] 8(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31845-0

    2018 - View publication details

  13. Wang, C., Liu, Q., Guo, G., Huo, W.J., Pei, C.X., Zhang, S.L., Yang, W.Z. (2018). Effects of dietary protein levels and 2-methylbutyrate on ruminal fermentation, nutrient degradability, bacterial populations and urinary purine derivatives in Simmental steers, 102(3), 611-619. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpn.12797

    2018 - View publication details

  14. Liu, Q., Wang, C., Zhang, Y.L., Pei, C.X., Zhang, S.L., Guo, G., Huo, W.J., Yang, W.Z. (2018). Effects of isovalerate supplementation on morphology and functional gene expression of small intestine mucosa in pre- and post-weaned dairy calves, 156(2), 272-281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021859618000102

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Wang, C., Liu, Q., Guo, G., Huo, W.J., Zhang, Y.L., Pei, C.X., Zhang, S.L., Yang, W.Z., Wang, H. (2018). Effects of substituting corn with steam-flaked sorghum on growth, digestion and blood metabolites in young cattle fed feedlot diets, 58(2), 299-306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN16265

    2018 - View publication details

  16. Safaei, K., Ghorbani, G.R., Alikhani, M., Sadeghi-Sefidmazgi, A., Yang, W.Z. (2017). Response of lactating dairy cows to degree of steam-flaked barley grain in low-forage diets. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, [online] 101(5), e87-e97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpn.12565

    2017 - View publication details

  17. Li, H.Q., Liu, Q., Wang, C., Guo, G., Huo, W.J., Zhang, S.L., Zhang, Y.L., Pei, C.X., Yang, W.Z., Wang, H. (2017). Effects of rumen-protected pantothenate on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, cellulolytic bacteria and urinary excretion of purine derivatives in growing beef steers, 202 159-165. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2017.06.004

    2017 - View publication details

  18. Wang, C., Liu, Q., Zhang, Y.L., Pei, C.X., Zhang, S.L., Guo, G., Huo, W.J., Yang, W.Z., Wang, H. (2017). Effects of isobutyrate supplementation in pre-post-weaned dairy calves diet on growth performance, rumen development, blood metabolites& hormone secretion, 11(5), 794-801. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731116002093

    2017 - View publication details

  19. Tagawa, S.i., Holtshausen, L., McAllister, T.A., Yang, W.Z., Beauchemin, K.A. (2017). Effects of particle size of processed barley grain, enzyme addition and microwave treatment on in vitro disappearance and gas production for feedlot cattle. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, [online] 30(4), 479-485. http://dx.doi.org/10.5713/ajas.16.0351

    2017 - View publication details

  20. Jancewicz, L.J., Swift, M.L., Penner, G.B., Beauchemin, K.A., Koenig, K.M., Chibisa, G.E., He, M.L., McKinnon, J.J., Yang, W.Z., McAllister, T.A. (2017). Development of near-infrared spectroscopy calibrations to estimate fecal composition and nutrient digestibility in beef cattle. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, [online] 97(1), 51-64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjas-2016-0107

    2017 - View publication details

Research facility

5403 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1



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