Animal Science Department

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Zach McFarlane, Ph.D.

Office:  Bldg 10, Rm 117

Phone:  (805) 756-2685


Dr. Zach McFarlane was raised in Gridley, California, part of a family deeply rooted in the cattle and rodeo industries. He spent most of his summers with his father working on a ranch in Fort Klamath, Oregon, where he cultivated a passion for the beef cattle industry. His research during his master’s program focused on feeding cull range cows to improve meat quality and profitability. He earned a doctorate in Ruminant Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville under the guidance of Dr. Travis Mulliniks. His research at Tennessee focused on low-input heifer development using stockpiled native forages and protein supplementation. 

The overall aim of McFarlane’s research and teaching program is to teach classes focusing on beef cattle production systems and to conduct applied research developing nutritional management strategies that improve beef cattle production efficiency. He wants the program to inspire a passion for beef cattle and research in his students. He also strives to provide practical, science-based solutions to address the problems of beef producers. He is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, and the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association. He is supervising the Cal Poly Bull Test Enterprise and serves as the faculty advisor for Cal Poly’s Young Cattlemen’s Committee.

  • Ph.D. Animal Science – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • M.S. Animal Science – University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • B.S. Animal Science – University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona


Selected Publications:

McFarlane, Z. D., E. R. Cope, J. D. Hobbs, R. N. Oakes, and J. T. Mulliniks. 2018. Direction of pre-breeding body weight change does not impact reproductive performance of yearling beef heifers. (Submitted to Journal of Animal Science)

McFarlane, Z. D., C. N. Boyer, and J. T. Mulliniks. 2018. Profitability of heifers developed on stockpiled winter forages. (Submitted to Journal of Applied Farm Economics)

Clemmons, B. A., R. I. Mihelic, R. C. Beckford, J. B. Powers, E. A. Melchior, Z. D. McFarlane, R. Cope, M. M. Embree, J. T. Mulliniks, S. R. Campagna, B. H. Voy, and P. R. Myer. 2018. Serum Metabolites Associated with Feed Efficiency in Black Angus Steers. Metabolomics. 13:147. doi:10.1007/s11306-017-1282-z

McFarlane, Z. D., R. P. Barbero, R. L. G. Nave, E. B. Maheiros, R. A. Reis, and J. T. Mulliniks. 2018. Effect of forage species and supplement type on rumen kinetics and serum metabolites in growing beef heifers grazing winter forage. J. Anim. Sci. 95:5301-5308. doi:10.2527/jas2017.1780

Hobbs, J.D., S. R. Edwards, E. R. Cope, Z. D. McFarlane, K. G. Pohler, and J. T. Mulliniks. 2017. Circulating beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration may be a predictive measurement for young cows that have a greater probability to conceive at a fixed-time artificial insemination. J. Anim. Sci. 95:1545-1552. doi:10.2527/jas2016.124.

Mulliniks, J. T., S. R. Edwards, J. D. Hobbs, Z. D. McFarlane, and E. R. Cope. 2017. Post-weaning feed efficiency decreased in progeny from higher milk yielding beef cows. Animal. 12:275-279. doi:10.1017/S1751731117001458

Mulliniks, J. T., E. R. Cope, Z. D. McFarlane, J. D. Hobbs, and R. C. Waterman. 2016. Drivers of grazing livestock efficiency: how physiology, metabolism, experience and adaptability influence productivity. J. Anim. Sci. 94(S6):111-119. doi:10.2527/jas2015-0711.

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