Production, Management and Environment Session III: Feeding
Body temperature (BT) is a reliable method for evaluating the thermal status of cattle. The objective of this study was to evaluate the regulation of BT in B. indicus and B. taurus steers during a heat wave event. Thirty-five steers (466.30±10.2kg) of mixed genotypes (B. taurus, n=18; B. indicus, n=17) were used in a larger 100-d study. Cattle were housed in six un-shaded pens at a commercial feedlot. Body temperature data for this were obtained at 1 h intervals over a 3-d heat wave event using in situ abdominal data loggers. Data were analysed using a repeated measures model, using residual maximum likelihood estimation. The model included genotype (B. taurus; B. indicus) and animal ID as random effects and hour as a fixed effect. Mean maximum BT occurred at 1500 h for B. taurus (40.52±0.03ºC) and 0400 h for B. indicus (40.48±0.31ºC). The BT of B. indicus decreased between 0400 h and 0700 h, and then increased to 1100 h (+0.10±0.01ºC/h), before decreasing again. The BT of B. taurus decreased between 0500 h and 0600 h, and then slowly increased (+0.04±0.01ºC/h) to 1500 h. Mean minimum BT occurred at 2100 h for B. taurus (40.12±0.11ºC) and 0700 h for B. indicus (40.00±0.22ºC). B. taurus maintained lower BT (40.21±0.05ºC) between 1900 h and 2200 h compared to B. indicus (40.27±0.05ºC) which may be due to disrupted heat loss mechanisms during the day, highlighting the importance of night time cooling. In response to increasing heat load, BT in B. taurus had slower increases but retained heat for longer, whilst B. indicus BT responded by a series of rapid increases and decreases. Developing an understanding of the differences in BT regulation in B. indicus and B. taurus will allow for more effective heat load management strategies during heat waves to be established.