Identifying the causes of heat stress in cattle and finding ways to manage it are the goals of USDA-Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators who are helping producers deal with this significant production problem.
The researchers are working to develop risk-assessment tools and management strategies. This work has three main components: analyzing animal susceptibility, identifying contributing environmental factors, and evaluating management techniques.
In one study, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center agricultural engineer Tami Brown-Brandl and colleagues conducted several studies to identify factors that contribute to animal susceptibility to heat stress. They identified 11 influential factors, including coat color, health history, and temperament.
In another study, Brown-Brandl and U.S. Meat Animal Research Center agricultural engineers Roger Eigenberg and John Nienaber looked at environmental factors affecting the intensity of heat stress. They developed a model that incorporates predictions of how temperature, humidity, sun intensity, and wind speed will affect heat stress.