Hot Weather Housing

The primary benefit of shelter in high-temperature conditions is shade. Figure 1 shows results from an animal instrumented with continuous body temperature and respiration rate sensors under shade and no shade.[14] The figure shows the nearly instantaneous drop in core body temperature and respiration rate as the animal is moved into shade from direct sunlight. Responses can be compared for the same animal on successive days under shade one day and direct sunlight the next day (before the animal was moved). Environmental temperatures were comparable for four days, as shown in Fig. 1. Additional information has supported these results in subsequent studies,[15] and most recently in an unshaded feedlot in which cattle with dark-pigmented skin had higher respiration rates and surface temperatures than those with light skin pigment, when environmental temperatures exceeded 35°C.[16] W. N. Garrett[17] proposed that northern latitudes experiencing fewer than 500 h per year above 29.4°C would not have an economically viable response to shade, whereas those experiencing more than 750 h per year above 29.4°C would benefit from shade (Fig. 2 from Ref. 4). Regardless of feedlot design, an adequate supply of clean, fresh water is vital to survival and performance.1-11-1

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