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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Bioenergetic Criteria for Management of Livestock Environments

item Nienaber, John

Submitted to: Feedinfo News Service
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 25, 2003
Publication Date: August 26, 2003

Interpretive Summary: The MARC Environmental Stress Laboratory has been studying animal well-being, genetic potential, and nutritional needs as affected by stress and management. Changes in the animal include increases in body temperature and the rate of breathing and decreases in eating and heat production. Both cattle and pigs demonstrate similar types of response. Shade, wetting the skin, and increased airflow are possible remedies for stress. Advanced planning is needed to have the remedies available for use when needed. Computer models of various types help make decisions for planning and use of the remedies.

Technical Abstract: The focus of the MARC Environmental Stress Laboratory has been on effects of production facility management and the thermal environment on animal well-being, genetic potential, and nutrition factors. Effects of heat stress on beef cattle include adaptations of body temperature, respiration rate, heat production, and feed consumption as factors of thermoregulation. Heat stress has been shown to increase body temperature and respiration rate while decreasing feed consumption and heat production. These same response variables were evaluated using growing-finishing swine with similar results. Both species demonstrated increased heat production with increased heat stress if the animal is not adapted, representing an acute stressor. Shade, surface wetting of the hide, and increased airflow are potential stress relief practices that can be used; however, advanced planning is needed. Various mathematic models have been developed as management aids. Close observation of animals is important when heat stress conditions are in the forecast.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
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