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Cattle Comfort Advisor
Most cattle producers know how their animals behave in extreme summer and winter conditions and the signs of stress to watch for. A website called the “National Cattle Comfort Advisor” provides a way to measure the severity and duration of extreme weather.
Albert Sutherland is the Mesonet Agriculture Coordinator at Oklahoma State University. He says the tool provides cattle comfort index numbers that help producers gauge animal stress levels.
"If you have employees you need to train, younger people coming into the operation, you can now guide them with some of those numbers. We do categorize the National Cattle Comfort Advisor into categories," he says. "We have heat danger, heat caution, a comfortable range, and then cold caution and cold danger."
He says the categories factor together air temperature, sunlight, wind speed, and relative humidity.
"And in the summer, things like wind would be a positive, that’s going to actually cool the animals. The sun of course is going to add heat load, higher relative humidities are going to add heat load," says Sutherland. "And then when we switch over to the winter, wind is not our friend because that’s going to add chilling to the animal, now sunlight becomes something that is a positive because it reduces the cold stress on the animal."
Sutherland says nationally, the measurements are updated hourly.
Click here for the National Cattle Comfort Advisor website