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Impact of Shade on Performance, Body Temperature, and Heat Stress of Finishing Cattle in Eastern Nebraska

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-098)
Authors:   Brett A Melton, Thomas M Winders, Bradley M Boyd, Casey N Macken, Andrea K Watson, James C MacDonald, Galen E Erickson
Keywords:   Beef cattle, Biometric sensing, Feedyard, Heat stress, Shade


A study using crossbred steers was conducted at a feedyard in Eastern NE to determine the effects of shade on cattle performance, panting, and body temperature. Two treatments were evaluated, 5 pens without shade (OPEN) and 5 pens with shade (SHADE). Shaded area was 2.8 to 4.2 m2/steer. Panting scores and body temperatures (using biometric sensing ear tags) were collected throughout the trial on a subset of cattle. No significant differences were observed for ADG, DMI, G:F, or carcass characteristics. Two heat events and one cool event were defined based on adjusted temperature-humidity index. During Event 1, SHADE cattle had lower panting scores, but DMI was not different between treatments. During Event 2, SHADE cattle had greater DMI and lower panting scores. The cool event resulted in greater DMI for SHADE cattle, but no difference in panting scores. Ear temperature was not different due to treatment for Event 1 and the cool event but was greater for OPEN cattle compared to SHADE cattle for Event 2. This suggests that cattle in shaded pens were cooler during Event 2. Movement of cattle had a treatment-by-hour interaction for Event 1 and Event 2, but there was no effect of treatment on movement for the cool event. A treatment-by-hour interaction was observed for ear temperature over the feeding period. OPEN cattle ear temperature was greater than SHADE cattle from 13:00 to 18:00 hours while movement was not different between the two treatments.

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