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USDA offers new heat stress smartphone app

USDA offers new heat stress smartphone app
New app issues forecasts ahead of extreme heat conditions and suggests actions to reduce livestock heat stress.

 

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has launched a new smartphone application that forecasts conditions triggering heat stress in cattle.

The app is compatible with Android and Apple mobile phones, and issues forecasts one to seven days in advance of extreme heat conditions, along with recommended actions that can protect animals before and during a heat-stress event.

It is available at both Google Play and the Apple App Store.

In some cattle, distress and discomfort from prolonged exposure to extreme heat cause diminished appetite, reduced growth or weight gain, greater susceptibility to disease and, in some cases, even death. Cattle housed in confined feedlot pens are especially vulnerable to heat-stress events.

In addition to high temperatures, weather-related factors like humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation can contribute to heat stress.

Until the early 1990s, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued livestock safety warnings that helped feedlot producers preempt losses or diminished productivity resulting from heat-stress events. Starting in the mid-2000s, researchers at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, filled the void with a web page, which is still available today, offering similar forecasts.

Recent increases in smartphone usage prompted ARS to design and launch a mobile-app that allows producers to access forecasts while they’re in the field.

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