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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Characterizing and Managing Animal Stress/Well-Being in Livestock Production Title: Shade structure design and evaluation

Authors
item Eigenberg, Roger
item Brown Brandl, Tami
item Hayes, Morgan

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 2013
Publication Date: July 12, 2013
Citation: Eigenberg, R.A., Brown Brandl, T.M., Hayes, M. 2013. Shade structure design and evaluation. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual International Meeting, July 17-20, 2013, Kansas City, MO. Paper Number: 131595866. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13031/aim.20131595866.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle that are confined in feedlots are vulnerable to very hot summertime conditions; exposure to summer heat can lead to performance and health issues for some animals if no mediating measures are available. The construction of shade over portions of the feedlot is one method of reducing the effects of solar heating of the animals. Design and material selection present challenges to meet a range of criteria that include: cost, effectiveness, durability, low maintenance, and minimal interference with normal feedlot management. The design described in this paper utilizes animal/shade response data collected over the last decade. Eight 10 m tall by 15.4 m long structures were built at the feedlot associated with the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center located near Clay Center, NE. The north/south structures were constructed in the pen fence-lines and were fitted with four 15.4 m lengths of polyvinyl snow-fence. These structures provide an effective 50% shade coverage that tracks the sun during the day and offers up to 3 m2 of shade per animal. Design considerations, construction materials and methods are presented as well as preliminary observations based on time-lapse photography of animal movements.

Technical Abstract: Shade structures are often considered as a method of reducing heat stress in feedlot cattle during extreme summer conditions. Design and material selection present challenges to meet a range of criteria that include: cost, effectiveness, durability, low maintenance, and minimal interference with normal feedlot management. The design described in this paper integrates animal/shade response data collected over the last decade. Eight 10 m tall by 15.4 m long structures were installed at the USMARC feedlot. The north/south structures were fitted with four 15.4 m lengths of poly snow-fence. These structures provide an effective 50% shade coverage that tracks the sun during the day and offers up to 3 m2 of shade per head. Design considerations, construction materials and methods are presented as well as preliminary observations based on time-lapse photography of animal movements.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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