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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Application for Behavioral Physiology to Address Challenges in Production Agriculture

Author
item Lay, Jr, Donald

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 25, 2002
Publication Date: March 25, 2002
Citation: LAY JR, D.C. APPLICATION FOR BEHAVIORAL PHYSIOLOGY TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES IN PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE. MEETING ABSTRACT. 2002.

Technical Abstract: There are many challenges in production that can be attributed to unavoidable stressors, such as heat, social challenges, and demanding production requirements (milk, growth, reproduction, etc.). These stressors are inherent in every system of production but must be minimized if we are to optimize both productivity of livestock as well as livestock well-being. The first step to address these issues is to be able to recognize when livestock are subjected to excessive stress. Although many believe that one of the first signs of such stress is a reduction in productivity measures such as growth and reproduction, actually these production measures are some of the very last indicators to be altered when an animal is stressed. An animal's behavior and physiology are the first signs that the individual is subjected to too much stress. The animal will try to relieve the stress by adjusting its behavior, avoid the heat, or avoid negative social contacts. At the same time and sometimes after unsuccessful behavioral attempts, the animals physiology changes, such as increases or decreases in heart rate, respiration rate, and hormone concentrations. If these changes persist for a long duration then the negative consequences associated with decreased production start to occur. Therefore, it is essential that stockmen and researchers are aware of these early signs in order to maximize productivity and animal well-being.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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