Submitted to: American Meteorological Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2002
Publication Date: October 28, 2002
Citation: EIGENBERG, R.A., HAHN, G.L., BROWN BRANDL, T.M., NIENABER, J.A. WEATHER DATA PROCESSOR USING COMMERCIAL WEATHER STATION SYSTEM TO GENERATE CATTLE LIVESTOCK SAFETY INDEX. AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 2002. pg 93. Technical Abstract: Livestock production facilities exist in environments that may differ significantly from the conditions at the closest weather station. Additionally, the Livestock Safety Index is no longer available over commercial radio/television stations for many livestock production areas. A need exists to integrate local weather data as collected by a dedicated weather station located at a feedlot into a single livestock safety factor accessible to livestock producers for management decisions. A low cost commercial weather station was combined with a dedicated microprocessor to produce a livestock safety monitor (LSM). An equation to predict respiration rate based on ambient conditions was developed from a 2001 summer cattle study for use in the LSM. The 2001 study used automated respiration monitors on eight individually penned steers. The steers were split into two groups; half having access to shade, with the remainder having no shade access. The animals were allowed ad lib access to feed and water. Data were recorded for eight periods (each period lasted an average of 4.5 days) through the 2001 summer. The respiration rate (RR) data from the 2001 study revealed temperature thresholds for wind speed, relative humidity, and solar radiation. These thresholds suggest temperature is the determining factor in thermal comfort below 25C; above 25C, wind speed, humidity, and solar radiation all impact the animal's thermal status. A linear equation estimating RR was developed from the 2001 study and was used with a commercial weather station to combine ambient temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation to estimate RR for the cattle in that local environment. The RR estimate is calculated when ambient temperatures exceed 25C. Additionally, livestock stress indices were implemented corresponding to Temperature Humidity Index values and are displayed as well. The units were located at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center feedlot, as well as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln feedlot, for portions of the Summer of 2002. Data collected at these feedlots will help validate the system for more widespread use.