Heat Stress In Feedlot Cattle: Producer Survey Results
The weather on July 11 and 12, 1995 was a deadly combination of high temperature, high relative humidity, no cloud cover and no wind. The combination of heat and humidity has been matched only five times in Iowa’s 101 years of weather records. Estimated cattle death loss in a 13-county area of West Central Iowa was 3,750 head or 2.32% of the cattle on feed. A survey of 36 beef producers with 9,830 head of cattle on feed in 81 lots was summarized. Thirty-five lots with shade (24 square feet per head) reported an average death loss of .2% as compared to 46 lots without shade with losses of 4.8%. Producers reported a disproportionately higher death loss in dark-hided cattle. Non-shaded lots facing south, southwest, or west had higher death loss than lots facing east or southeast. Heavier animals were more susceptible to heat stress. Lots containing heifers that were fed MGA had lower death loss ( 3.8% vs. 6.2% ) as compared to lots with heifers but not receiving MGA.