Advertisement

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 609–616 | Cite as

Water spray cooling during handling of feedlot cattle

  • Tami M. Brown-BrandlEmail author
  • Roger A. Eigenberg
  • John A. Nienaber
Original Paper

Abstract

Activities involved in receiving or working (e.g., sorting, dehorning, castration, weighing, implanting, etc.) of feedlot cattle cause an increase in body temperature. During hot weather the increased body temperature may disrupt normal behaviors including eating, which can be especially detrimental to the well-being and performance of the animals. Sprinkle cooling of animals has been successfully employed within the pen; however, added moisture to the pens’ surface increases odor generation from the pen. A study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of a single instance of wetting an animal within the working facility instead of in the pen, which could potentially provide extra evaporative cooling to offset the added heat produced by activity. Sixty-four cross-bred heifers were assigned to one of eight pens on the basis of weight. On four separate occasions during hot conditions (average temperature 28.2 ± 1.9°C, 29.1 ± 2.0°C, 28.9 ± 3.0°C, and 26.8 ± 1.6°C; with the temperature ranging from 22.6 to 32.5°C during the trials), the heifers were moved from their pens to and from the working facility (a building with a scale and squeeze chute located 160–200 m away). While in the squeeze chute, four of the pens of heifers were sprinkle cooled and the remaining four pens were worked as normal. The heifers that were treated had a body temperature that peaked sooner (31.9 ± 0.63 min compared to 37.6 ± 0.62) with a lower peak body temperature (39.55 ± 0.03°C compared to 39.74 ± 0.03°C), and recovered sooner (70.5 ± 2.4 min compared to 83.2 ± 2.4 min). The treated animals also had a lower panting score, a visual assessment of level of cattle heat stress (1.1 ± 0.2 compared to 1.16 ± 0.2). The behavior measurements that were taken did not indicate a change in behavior. It was concluded that while a single instance of wetting an animal within the working facility did not completely offset the increase in body temperature, it was beneficial to the animals without needing to add water to the pen surface, thus reducing the potential for odor generation.

Keywords

Animal behavior Body temperature Cattle Heat stress Spray cooling Sprinkle cooling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank John Holman, Dale Janssen and Ty Post for their help in data collection and preparation, and Janel Nierman for her help in the preparation of this manuscript.

References

  1. Brown-Brandl TM (2008) Heat stress in feedlot cattle. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, vol 3, no. 16. Available: www.cababstractsplus.org/cabreviews/reviews.asp or doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR20083016
  2. Brown-Brandl TM, Nienaber JA, Eigenberg RA, Hahn GL, Freetly HC (2003) Thermoregulatory responses of feeder cattle. J Therm Biol 28:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown-Brandl TM, Nienaber JA, Eigenberg RA, Mader TL, Morrow JL, Dailey JW (2006) Comparison of heat tolerance of feedlot heifers of different breeds. Livest Sci 105:19–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Busby D, Loy D (1996) Heat stress in feedlot cattle: producer survey results. Iowa State University, AmesGoogle Scholar
  5. Gaughan JB, Davis MS, Mader TL (2004) Wetting and the physiological responses of grain-fed cattle in a heated environment. Aust J Agric Res 55:253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hahn GL (1999) Dynamic responses of cattle to thermal heat loads. J Anim Sci 77(Suppl 2):10–20Google Scholar
  7. Hahn GL, Mader TL (1997) Heat waves in relation to thermoregulation, feeding behavior and mortality of feedlot cattle. In: Proceeding of the 5th international livestock environment symposium. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI, pp 563–571Google Scholar
  8. Hillman PE, Gebremedhin KG, Willard ST, Lee CN, Kennedy AD (2009) Continuous measurements of vaginal temperature of female cattle using a data logger encased in a plastic anchor. Applied Eng Agric 25(2):291–296Google Scholar
  9. Hungerford LL, Buhman MJ, Dewell RD, Mader TL, Griffin D, Smith DR, Nienaber JA (2000) Investigation of heat stress mortality in four midwest feedlots. In: Proceedings of the 9th symposium of veterinary epidemiology and economics. ISVEE, pp 430–433Google Scholar
  10. Kenny GP, Reardon FD, Thoden JS, Giesbrecht GG, Kenny G (1999) Changes in exercise and post-exercise core temperature under different clothing conditions. Int J Biometerol 43(1):8–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kuehl RO (1994) Statistical principles of research design and analysis. Duxbury, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  12. Mader TL, Holt SM, Hahn GL, Davis MS, Spiers DE (2002) Feeding strategies for managing heat load in feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci 80(9):2373–2382Google Scholar
  13. Mader TL, Davis MS, Kreikemeier WM (2005) Case study: tympanic temperature and behavior associated with moving feedlot cattle. Prof Anim Sci 21:339–344Google Scholar
  14. McDonald TP, Jones DD, Barrett JR, Albright JL, Miles GE, Nienaber JA, Hahn GL (1988) Measuring the heat increment of activity in growing-finishing swine. Trans ASAE 4:1180–1186Google Scholar
  15. Mitloehner FM, Morrow-Tesch J, Wilson SC, Dailey JW, McGlone JJ (2001) Behavioral sampling techniques for feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci 79:1189–1193Google Scholar
  16. Nienaber JA, Hahn GL, Brown-Brandl TM, Eigenberg RA (2007) Summer heat waves—extreme years. ASABE, St. Joseph, MIGoogle Scholar
  17. Noblet J, Shi XS, Dubois S (1993) Energy cost of standing activity in sows. Livest Prod Sci 34(1–2):127–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. van Milgen J, Bernier JF, Lecozler Y, Dubios S, Noblet J (1998) Major determinants of fasting heat production and energetic cost of activity in growing pigs of different body weight and breed/castration combination. Br J Nutr 79(6):509–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Voisinet BD, Grandin T, Tatum JD, O'Connor SF, Struthers JJ (1997) Feedlot cattle with calm temperaments have higher average daily gains than cattle with excitable temperaments. J Anim Sci 75:892–896Google Scholar

Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tami M. Brown-Brandl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roger A. Eigenberg
    • 1
  • John A. Nienaber
    • 1
  1. 1.US Meat Animal Research CenterUSDA, ARSClay CenterUSA

Personalised recommendations