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Development and Validation of an Animal Susceptibility Model

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  074081.(doi:10.13031/2013.23105)
Authors:   T M Brown-Brandl, D D Jones,
Keywords:   Heat stress, Modelling, Beef cattle, Susceptibility, Feedlot, Precision Animal ManagementIntroduction

An individual animal’s stress level is the summation of stresses from three areas: the environment, animal, and management. A model was developed to predict the susceptibility of an individual animal to heat stress. The model utilizes a hierarchal knowledge-based fuzzy inference system with 11 animal characteristics (color, sex, species, temperament, hair thickness, previous exposure, age, condition score, previous cases of pneumonia, previous other health issues, and current health) to predict susceptibility to heat stress and certainty of the prediction. The model was validated using data collected on 192 cattle over a 3-year period. Sixty-four heifers of four different breeds (Angus, Charolais, and two cross-breeds Marc I and Marc III) were assigned to one of eight outdoor pens in each of three years (2004, 2005, and 2006). The correlation of susceptibility to growth rate, condition score change, respiration rate, and panting score provided the basis for validation. Respiration rate and panting score were significantly higher in the higher categories of susceptibility than the lower categories of susceptibility. Recommendations for further studies include validating the model using a more varied group of animals.

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