Explore the details of a UF/IFAS study that shows how heat and agitation affects meat and milk production in cows.


The results of a recent study through the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) proved what many have already guessed at: cooler cows that have lower body temperatures and calmer dispositions produce more meat and milk than those that are hot and agitated, according to a UF/IFAS blog posting on the study. Read the details below.

Benefits of Cooler Cows


Raluca Mateescu, an associate professor of animal sciences with UF/IFAS maintained that the study indicated that cows that had lower body temperatures—the study took a Brangus test herd’s temperature as they came through the chute—produced more meat and more milk. “These findings would have the biggest impact for beef producers in hot, humid environments, largely in the southeast U.S. and other sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world,” Mateescu said in the article.

Lower body temperatures and lower levels of agitation both negatively affected meat and milk production. “Some cattle are very agitated and move a lot in the chute, and they exit the chute by sprinting or jumping, while the calm ones will follow you and won’t kick or shake the chute,” Mateescu was quoted as saying in the article. “Also, they exit the chute calmly, by just walking out,” she added.

Details of the research include:

  • “Cows with shorter hair are cooler, and thus, more productive…”
  • “When their bodies heat up, cattle use energy to try to lower their temperature, which usually means they eat less…”
  • “When cows’ body temperature rises above 102.4 degrees Fahrenheit, they start eating less and produce less meat or milk…”

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