College of Agriculture and Bioresources

Research Area(s)

  • Ruminant nutritional physiology
  • Cattle nutrition to enhance health and productivity
  • Gut function

Brief Biography

Dr. Greg Penner is a Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science and holds a Centennial Enhancement Chair in Ruminant Nutritional Physiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He was hired in 2009 after obtaining his bachelor’s degree (2004) and M.Sc. degree (2006) at the University of Saskatchewan, and his PhD from the University of Alberta (2009). Dr. Penner has published over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has secured over 7.4 million in funding as PI and 5.1 million as a co-investigator allowing for extensive local, national, and international collaborations. Dr. Penner is a highly sought out speaker and has provided over 80 invited presentations since appointment. Greg also participated as an Evaluation Group Member for the NSERC-Discovery program and is an associate editor.

Dr. Penner’s research focuses on forage utilization, beef and dairy cattle nutrition, and regulation of gastrointestinal function in ruminants. Individual projects range from a focus on fundamental aspects of physiology to those with applied outcomes that can help promote efficient and sustainable beef and dairy production. Through his research program, Dr. Penner has trained 26 undergraduate students, 17 M.Sc. students, 5 Ph.D. students, 4 post-doctoral fellows, and has 3 technicians. In addition, Dr. Penner has hosted 5 students from other universities while they conduct a portion of their research under his supervision.

In recognition of his research program, Dr. Penner has been awarded with the Canadian Society of Animal Science Young Scientist Award (2013), the Early Career Research Award from the American Society of Animal Science (2017), the College of Agriculture and Bioresources Dean's New Researcher Award of Excellence (2017), The University of Saskatchewan New Research Award (2019), and will receive the Lallemand Research Excellence Award in Dairy Science in July 2019. Dr. Penner’s students have also received considerable recognition with M.Sc. or Ph.D. students winning graduate student competitions at the Canadian Society of Animal Science every year from 2012 to 2018 with the exception of 2015 along with numerous scholarships and a University of Saskatchewan Thesis Award.

Greg is actively involved in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels within the Animal Science program in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. Greg is also heavily involved in activity at the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence and enjoys outreach activities. As part of his outreach, Dr. Penner participates as an organizing committee member for the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference, Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, and the Saskatchewan Pasture Tour.


Animal and Poultry Science

Research Interests

My research program is designed to train future leaders in the area of ruminant nutritional physiology while applying principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion for student and post-doctoral recruitment and in the design of our studies. Specifically, our research focuses on the development of nutritional strategies to enhance the health and productivity of cattle. We have several streams of research including fundamental investigation on gastrointestinal tract function of calves, feedlot cattle, dairy cattle, and sheep. We have developed and implemented novel techniques to evaluate total tract and regional changes in gastrointestinal tract barrier function and continue to work to understand factors affecting absorptive metabolism and adaptation. Results from these studies are used within my second theme, applied research, to evaluate efficacy of nutritional management strategies to enhance productivity and health of beef cattle, dairy cattle, and sheep. Additionally, we are working to improve the knowledge for feeding management of dairy cattle housed in barns with automated milking systems. Finally, we are working to enhance the utilization of the starch and protein within barley for beef and dairy cattle production systems.


  • Ph.D., University of Alberta
  • M.Sc., University of Saskatchewan 
  • B.S.A., University of Saskatchewan 

Selected Publications

Automated milking systems

Hare, T.J. DeVries, K.S. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Short communication: Does the location of concentrate provision affect voluntary visits, and milk and milk component yield for cows in an automated milking system. Canadian Journal of Animal Science.

Paddick, K.S., T.J. DeVries, K. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, M.A. Steele, M.E. Walpole, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Effect of the amount of concentrate offered in an automated milking system on milk yield, milk composition, ruminal digestion, and behavior of primiparous Holstein cows fed iso-caloric diets. J. Dairy Sci. 102:2173-2187.

Paddick, K.S., T.J. DeVries, K. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, M.A. Steele, M.E. Walpole, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Effect of the amount of concentrate offered in an automated milking system on milk yield, milk composition, ruminal digestion, and behavior of primiparous Holstein cows fed iso-caloric diets. J. Dairy Sci. 102:2173-2187.

Menajovsky, S.B., C.E. Walpole, T.J. DeVries, K.S. Schwartzkopf-Genswein, M.E. Walpole, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Effect of the forage-to-concentrate ratio of the partial mixed ration (PMR) and the concentrate allocation in an automatic milking system (AMS) for mid-lactation Holstein cows in a guided traffic flow barn. J. Dairy Sci. 101:9941-9953.

Barley grain processing

J.A. Johnson, K. Burakowska, L.A. Radke, G.B. Penner. 2020. Short communication: Evaluating the effects of steam-flaking conditions on starch availability of barley grain. Applied Animal Science (in press)

Johnson, J.A., B.D. Sutherland, J.J. McKinnon, T.A. McAllister, and G.B. Penner. 2019. Effect of feeding barley or corn silage with dry rolled barley, corn, or a blend of barley and corn grain on rumen fermentation, total-tract digestibility, and nitrogen balance for finishing beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science. 98: skaa002,

Johnson, J.A., B.D. Sutherland, J.J. McKinnon, T.A. McAllister, and G.B. Penner. 2019. Effect of the source of cereal grain and source of cereal silage on growth performance, nutrient utilization, and carcass characteristics for finishing beef cattle. Translational Animal Science. 4:129-140.

Gastrointestinal tract health

Kent-Dennis, C., J.R. Aschenbach, P. Griebel, and G.B. Penner. 2020. Effects of lipopolysaccharide exposure in primary bovine ruminal epithelial cells. Journal of Dairy Science. (In press).

Chibisa, G.E., K.A. Beauchemin, K.M. Koenig, and G.B. Penner. 2020. Optimum forage proportion in barley-based feedlot cattle diets: Total-tract nutrient digestibility, rumination, ruminal acidosis, short-chain fatty acid absorption, and gastrointestinal barrier function. J. Anim. Sci.

Kent-Dennis, C., A. Pasternak, J.C. Plaizier, and G.B. Penner. 2019. Potential for a Localized Immune Response in the Ruminal Epithelium Following a Ruminal Acidosis Challenge. Journal of Dairy Science. 102:7556-7569.

Aschenbach, J.R., Q. Zebeli , A.K. Patra, G. Greco, S. Amasheh*, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Invited Review: The importance of the ruminal epithelial barrier for a healthy and productive cow. J. Dairy Sci. 102:1866-1882.

J.C. Plaizier, H. Derakhshani, H. Golder, E. Khafipour, J. Kleen, I. Lean, J. Loor, D. Mesgaran, G.B. Penner, Q. Zebeli2018. Invited Review: Enhancing gut health in dairy cows. Animal. 12(Suppl. 2):399-418.

R.A. Pederzolli, A.G. Van Kessel, J. Campbell, S. Hendrick, K.M. Wood, and G.B. Penner. 2018. Effect of ruminal acidosis and short-term low feed intake on indicators of gastrointestinal barrier function in Holstein steers. Journal of Animal Science. 96:108-125.

Penner, G.B.*, J.R. Aschenbach, K. Wood, M.E. Walpole, R. Kanafany-Guzman, S. Hendrick, and J. Campbell. 2014. Characterizing barrier function among regions of the gastrointestinal tract in Holstein steers. Anim. Prod. Sci. 54:1282-1287.

Water quality

Penner, G.B., J.J. Johnson, B.D. Sutherland, L.P. Clark, and C.J. Elford. 2019. Effect of water sulfate concentration on feed and water intake, growth, and serum mineral concentration in growing beef heifers. Applied Animal Science. 36:201-207.


  • ANSC 301.3 Animal Production Tour
  • ANSC 355.3 Sheep and Goat Management
  • ANSC 315.3 Animal and Poultry Nutrition (lab section only)
  • ANSC 492.3/494.6 Thesis in Animal Science
  • ANSC 815.3 Advanced Ruminant Nutrition
  • ANSC 898.3 Ruminant Nutritional Consulting
  • VBMS 8282 Gastrointestinal Physiology