Environmental factors affecting feed intake of steers in different housing systems in the summer

Koknaroglu H., Otles Z., Mader T. L. , Hoffman M. P.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOMETEOROLOGY, vol.52, no.6, pp.419-429, 2008 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 52 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00484-007-0136-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.419-429


A total of 188 yearling steers of predominantly Angus and Hereford breeds, with mean body weight of 299 kg, were used in this study, which started on 8 April and finished on 3 October, to assess the effects of environmental factors on feed intake of steers in various housing systems. Housing consisted of outside lots with access to overhead shelter, outside lots with no overhead shelter and a cold confinement building. Ad libitum corn, 2.27 kg of 35% dry matter whole plant sorghum silage and 0.68 kg of a 61% protein-vitamin-mineral supplement was offered. Feed that was not consumed was measured to determine feed intake. The temperature data were recorded by hygro-thermographs. Hourly temperatures and humidity were used to develop weather variables. Regression analysis was used and weather variables were regressed on dry matter intake (DMI). When addition of a new variable did not improve R-2 stop more than one unit, then the number of variables in the model was truncated. Cattle in confinement had lower DMI than those in open lots and those in open lots with access to an overhead shelter (P < 0.05). Cattle in outside lots with access to overhead shelter had similar DMI compared to those in open lots (P=0.065). Effect of heat was predominantly displayed in August in the three housing systems. In terms of explaining variation in DMI, in outside lots with access to overhead shelter, average and daytime temperatures were important factors, whereas in open lots, nocturnal, peak and average temperatures were important factors. In confinement buildings, the previous day's temperature and humidity index were the most important factors explaining variation in DMI. Results show the effect of housing and weather variables on DMI in summer and when considering these results, cattle producers wishing to improve cattle feedlot performance should consider housing conditions providing less stress or more comfort.