Kestrel Weather Instruments recently participated in the Food Animal Club speaker series at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) with an audience made up of veterinary students and faculty members. Shanna Kipnis, Kestrel Agriculture Business Development Manager, discussed the importance of monitoring cattle feedlot conditions in order to better manage the impact of heat stress events and minimize the damaging losses to the herd and the producers’ bottom line. Kipnis specifically addressed AHLU - the most complete cattle heat stress model that takes into account the accumulated heat load during prolonged periods of heat exposure.
Cattle producers and dairy farmers know that once cattle display clear signs of heat stress, losses in productivity and health have already occurred. Left unaddressed, heat stress can progress to the death of the animal, sometimes with little warning. Losses can be prevented by implementing heat stress management plans in time, but farmers need guidance that takes all conditions affecting the animals into account. Three widely adopted measurement schemes have been developed and implemented within the industry to provide this guidance: Temperature-Humidity Index ("THI"), Heat Load Index ("HLI"), and Accumulated Heat Load Units ("AHLU"). AHLU is the most complete guidance system because it tracks cattle heat accumulation over multi-day/night heat events.
Studies have shown that cattle areas and individual pens pose "significant microclimatic variations" compared to the general environment of the farm. This is why even the data from a weather station installed on the property, while helpful, may not reflect the real conditions of the barn, pasture, and individual pens. Weather channel forecasts and reports from local news websites too often provide an incomplete picture for producers who must make time- and budget-sensitive decisions based on the current, onsite conditions. To anticipate when detrimental heat stress conditions will occur, it’s best to actively monitor environmental conditions right where cattle are contained.
Kestrel’s line of Agriculture meters and loggers are portable, rugged devices that can quickly and easily perform regular spot checks throughout an operation, capture readings in memory, or be mounted near any group of cattle to become cattle-specific heat stress weather stations. Their affordability and portability even make it practical to monitor specific groups of cows or calves who may be more vulnerable to heat stress. The 5400AG Cattle Heat Stress Tracker includes a black globe sensor for tracking the impact of solar loading and radiant heat – a key component of HLI and AHLU and one not available in any traditional weather station. Simple menu picks customize the AHLU model for breed and age of cattle, pen conditions and mitigation strategies. Using the included portable vane mount, the Kestrel 5400AG is easily mounted in place to track heat accumulation for days, weeks or months. The 5400AG gives you instant access to THI, HLI and AHLU based on the real environmental conditions experienced by your herd.
The Kestrel Agriculture line of environmental monitoring meters gives you reliable, site-specific weather data you can count on to make critical management decisions to increase yield, reduce losses and boost profit.
Measure. Manage. Maximize.