Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2005
Publication Date: 2/12/2006
Citation: Ganskopp, D.C., Smith, K., George, M., Cao, D., Harris, N. 2006. Effect of temperature patterns on cattle locations in the foothills of California [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 339.
Technical Abstract: Effects of temperature on cattle spatial distribution and activity patterns are important to ranchers who seek to optimize animal performance. We categorized the thermal environment of a 193 hectare pasture in California’s foothills and determined if and when cattle selected locations that were thermally different from pasture means. We used GPS collars, programmed to record position every 15 minute to index cattle locations. Cattle locations were spatially and temporally paired with temperature data simultaneously recorded by 79 thermistors scattered across the pasture. At night during the summer cattle were found on sites that had warmer temperatures than the pasture average. In the day cattle were found in cooler environments. On cold nights in winter, cattle were found in warmer environments but during the day they were found on cooler sites. We hypothesize that grazing induces animals to use open meadows which are generally cooler and more exposed. During each of the trials, cattle sought areas that were more thermally neutral during the night activities. During daylight periods in summer and winter trials, cattle seemed to suspend their association with thermal neutral areas, and increase activity levels.