International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 541–551 | Cite as

Effect of sprinkling on feedlot microclimate and cattle behavior

  • T. L. Mader
  • M. S. Davis
  • J. B. Gaughan
Original Paper


Experiments were conducted to evaluate strategies designed to reduce heat stress of cattle. In the first experiment, cattle were sprinkled for 20 min every 1.5 h between 1000 hours and 1750 hours (WET) versus not sprinkled (DRY). In a second experiment, treatments consisted of: (1) control, no water application; (2) water applied to the pen surfaces between 1000 hours and 1200 hours (AM); and (3) water applied to pen surfaces between 1400 hours and 1600 hours (PM). In both experiments, sprinkling lowered (P < 0.05) mid-afternoon temperatures. In the first experiment, relative humidity (RH) of WET versus DRY pens differed (P < 0.05) and averaged 72.4 and 68.9%, respectively. The average temperature–humidity index (THI) in WET pens was 0.5 units lower (P < 0.05), than the THI in DRY pens. In the second experiment, RH in sprinkled pens was also greater (P < 0.05) than RH in control (CON) pens However, THI differed (P < 0.05) among treatments, being 81.5, 80.9, and 80.3, respectively for CON, AM, and PM. Pens with sprinklers had a larger percentage of steers in areas where sprinkling took place, even on days when sprinkling had not occurred. Based on differences in percentage of cattle panting in sprinkled and non-sprinkled treatments, sprinkling was found to have a positive effect on cattle feeding area microclimate and to reduce the susceptibility of cattle to hyperthermia. However, cattle acclimatization to being sprinkled can result in slight hyperthermia even during cooler days when sprinkling would normally not be utilized.


Heat stress Management Feedlot Microclimate Sprinkling Behavior 



Contributions of the University of Nebraska, Agricultural Research Division, Lincoln, NE 68583. Partial research support provided by the Office of Science (BER), United States Department of Energy, Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FCO2-03ER63613


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Copyright information

© ISB 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeast Research and Extension CenterUniversity of NebraskaConcordUSA
  2. 2.Koers-Turgeon Consulting Services, Inc.SalinaUSA
  3. 3.School of Animal StudiesThe University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  4. 4.Haskell Agricultural LaboratoryUniversity of NebraskaConcordUSA

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