Submitted to: Computers in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 9, 2005
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Eigenberg, R.A., Brown Brandl, T.M., Nienaber, J.A. 2008. Sensors for dynamic physiological measurements. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 62:41-47. Interpretive Summary: Electronic sensors give us measurements of how cattle and pigs respond to stress. These are the most unbiased tools we have to study animal well-being. The tools are checked against observations of animals for unusual behavior. The measurements of body temperature and breathing can be automatically recorded, along with animal identification. Therefore, information on animals can be collected all day and all night for long periods to study the impact of weather patterns. One weather pattern of interest is the heat wave, which can cause serious animal stress and production loss. The use of these automated sensors gives us information on how animals respond and clues to how we might better manage their environments.
Technical Abstract: Stress research on agricultural production animals involves monitoring of bio-energetic responses to environmental challenges. Automated physiological and behavioral responses of animals have the advantage of reducing labor, increasing the frequency of observation, reducing bias and observer influence, but automation requires specialized instrumentation. Equipment has been developed or adapted to meet specific monitoring needs for a range of animals and facilities. This paper summarizes work related to cattle and swine stress research at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, and specifically examines recording of body temperature, respiration rate, and electronic identification.