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body surface temperature of replacement heifer

Heat Stress on Beef Cattle

By: Dr. Philipe Moriel
UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center

body surface temperature of replacement heifer

Thermal photo showing the body surface temperature of replacement heifer.

Heat stress is a large constraint to maximizing cattle productivity, compromising almost every metric of animal agriculture profitability and responsible for up to 1.2 billion dollars in annual economic loss for U.S. livestock industry (St-Pierre et al., 2003). It affects a wide variety of endocrine, physiological, metabolic, and immunological variables, leading to nutrient partitioning away from growth. Recently, it was also observed that heat stress exposure during late gestation of dairy cows reduced their calf body weight gain and immune response following birth. Thus, growth and immune response of calves can be programmed by how their mothers were previously managed during heat stress. Unfortunately, most heat stress data currently available was obtained using Bos taurus beef and dairy cattle in feedlot systems. Very limited data is available for grazing Bos indicus-influenced cattle. Evaluating the specific mechanisms involved in how heat stress jeopardizes the performance of grazing Bos indicus-influenced beef cattle is vital for generating future strategies (genetic, managerial, nutritional, and pharmaceutical) targeted at optimizing beef cattle well-being and performance.

In this presentation, we discuss the current challenges of implementing strategies to alleviate heat stress in grazing scenarios and describe our ongoing efforts to address such obstacle for beef cattle in tropical and subtropical environments.
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Philipe Moriel

Dr. Philipe Moriel

Dr. Moriel is an associate professor with the animal science program at the UF/IFAS RCREC in Ona, Florida. He specializes in beef cattle nutrition and management. If you have any questions, you can contact him at