Chilling Time for Cattle

Cattle in the Great Plains never know what to wear. Just when they put on their winter coat, it turns warm. Just when they settle into a warm day, temperatures drop and north winds chill a cow to the bone.


Rapid temperature change tips the scale for cattle on the verge of getting sick. It’s that added stress that can bring on bovine respiratory disease. The Cattle Comfort Index gives us a tool to monitor and measure rapid weather changes. It’s a measure of just how good or bad outdoor conditions are for cattle. Continue reading

Frigid Oklahoma Cattle Comfort

What a cold weekend we just went through! For Oklahoma, the cold air swept through the state on Saturday, December 17, 2016. The next two mornings, Sunday and Monday, were especially brutal for cattle.

Checking the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor for Saturday, the maximum Cattle Comfort Index values ran from 82 degrees at Broken Bow in the southeast to zero at Boise City and Eva in the Panhandle.

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Cattle Comfort Rollercoaster

Oklahoma’s weather roller coaster has opened for business. And on the farm, the cattle are feeling it. Warm, cold, warm, cold and how about a day of drizzle that turned to freezing rain with a biting wind (Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016).

2016-12-17.Cow in snow.face

Temperature weather variability has two sides. One side is the peak-to peak (amplitude) of the variability, how high or low temperatures go. The mornings of December 17th and 18th are going to be bitter cold with extreme lows. Continue reading

Assessing Cattle for Heat Stress — authors: Chris Richards and Al Sutherland

We don’t seem to slide into summer heat in Oklahoma. Instead, summer arrives with searing heat, days after it was cool enough to grab a sweatshirt. Now that we’ve recovered from the shock of summer’s arrival, this would be a good time to take notes on how the heat impacted your cattle. Did your animals suffer from the heat? Did you note any times of unusual behavior?

In Oklahoma, you have the Mesonet Cattle Comfort Advisor that charts daytime heat and nighttime cooling. By matching up the Cattle Comfort index values to your cattle’s behavior, you can develop heat stress thresholds unique for your location and animals from your nearest Oklahoma Mesonet site.

Cattle in sign shade close up - small file Continue reading

Heat and Cattle Comfort

With the shrill sound of cicadas pulsing around me, I began my walk along the path through the trees. Here it was Friday night in Ardmore. The day to follow was a full day devoted to beef cattle production at the 2014 Southern Plains Beef Symposium. This was a beautiful evening. It was hot and humid, yet it was a pleasant warmth. The grass was green and soils moist from recent rains.

As I walked, the sweat began to flow. Two miles and forty minutes later, I was warm, wet from perspiration, yet not fatigued, not overcome by the heat. At the end of my walk, close to 8:00 pm, the human Heat Index also referred to as the Apparent Temperature from the Newport Mesonet site was 87°F. That’s important because while I was sweating, I was still comfortable. Warm, yet far from being overcome by the heat. For me, when the Apparent Temperature gets into the upper 90s, I have to slow down and take it easy or suffer from the heat.

2014 08 10.Newport Air Temp graph

[Full Site: / Weather / Station Meteograms]
[App: Local / upper left corner "zig-zag" icon]

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