Heat tolerance

Help Support CattleToday:

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
The whole issue of heat tolerance has been buzzing around in my head for some time and I've come up with some ideas based on observations.
Withe temps in the low 70s and moderate to low humidity I haven't seen any real difference between different breeds. One of the boaarders was a pond sitter, but she was there day and night. She would come out and graze with the others for a while then beat feet back to the pond. Even with temps in 50s she just liked being in that pond.
When there is a good forage base, a cow doesn't need to spend all that much time grazing. So for those kinds of situations the heat tolerance to allow long periods of grazing are pretty much a moot point.
The neioghbors Gerts spend more time grazing then my british, but he has a lower quality pasture. The Holsteins at the dairy, mostly white with black spotting spend a lot of time shaded up during the day. Even though they're on pasture, the grain load seems to allow them to forage less. It's also hard for me to judge the body condition of a Holstein. If she's getting fat she's cheating, otherwise they all look skinny to me. That's from all angles includiing underneath while milking.
SSo, here's my idea. If you have a good forage base or better as long as there isn't heat stress, any breed will pretty much work in any given environment. There are people raising black Angus in FL, hot and humid and Gerts in Canada, not what I would consider an ideal climate for a heat developed breed.
Within each breed there are I'm sure canimals that are more heat or cold tolerant then others. Like the pond sitter.
Even when it's in the high 80s even with shade available our cows lay out in the sun. Some days a few may be under a tree, but on others different ones are shaded up.
Currently they're on staright lespedeza pasture and don't seem to be in the shade except very late in the day. But even then, they're just laying around chewing their cuds.
Winterss they spend more time grazing, but they need more fuel for their furnace plus the forage is of poorer wuality. But even then they're just as likely to lay under a treee as in the open or vice versa.
Whatcha think?

dun
 

Craig-TX

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Texas
Interesting that you would bring up the subject because IMO cold tolerance is more critical to cattle in the north than heat tolerance is to cattle in the south or west. But heat seems to get all the attention. Obviously you wouldn’t run Highlands in the south and it’s been pretty well shown that Brahmers can handle heat better than the rest. Having said that, I think the whole heat tolerance thing is over-rated. Some breeds (and individual animals within them) are bound to take the heat better than others but it’s not a critical factor.

Look at jackrabbits. They have got to be one of the most heat tolerant animals out there and even they will lay around in the day. They hate the heat and they are certainly "bred" for it. A lot of cattle that are laying around on hot days are grazing in the cool of the evenings and mornings. Doesn’t mean the heat is hurting them, just means they aren’t dumb. I don’t think heat impacts cattle in any way that is significant enough to affect purchase decisions.

Craig-TX
 
OP
dun

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
Craig-TX":1bg09fzm said:
I don’t think heat impacts cattle in any way that is significant enough to affect purchase decisions.

Craig-TX

OH OH, another heretic

I agree about the cold. Our cows that carry a little more backfat, and it's easy to see when they're snowed on, seeem to handle the cold betteer. The length of the hair seems to be less iimportant then that fat layer. But all of ours are pretty short haired, so it's probably not a fair assumption. And we generally don't get the real extremes for more then a day or two at a time and generally not a lot of deep snow. Generally because a couple of years ago it snowed a little bit every couple of days and didn't get above freezing for a month, but that's not normal, whatever normal is.

dun
 

la4angus

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
5,063
Reaction score
0
Location
South La
Craig-TX":lthde062 said:
A lot of cattle that are laying around on hot days are grazing in the cool of the evenings and mornings. Doesn’t mean the heat is hurting them, just means they aren’t dumb. I don’t think heat impacts cattle in any way that is significant enough to affect purchase decisions.

Craig-TX

Craig
I have to agree with you on this one. Our Reg Angus are grazing during the mornings, late afternoons and evenings. They raise some fairly decent calves too.
 

Beefy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
8,754
Reaction score
0
Location
Georgia
I read some research the other day that indicated that brahman and brahman influenced cattle have smaller stomachs and therefor have to graze more frequently than say, british breeds. so they had to adapt to the heat b/c of their stomach size, not just because its hot in africa and india, etc. makes sense to me.
 

la4angus

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
5,063
Reaction score
0
Location
South La
Beefy":3o3h9rlo said:
I read some research the other day that indicated that brahman and brahman influenced cattle have smaller stomachs and therefor have to graze more frequently than say, british breeds. so they had to adapt to the heat b/c of their stomach size, not just because its hot in africa and india, etc. makes sense to me.
Beefy
That makes sense to me. If a person notices they are grazing all the time that the british breeds are grazing and also when the british breeds are resting.
Their calves under similar conditions are no heavier on the average
 
OP
dun

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
The only time we ran Brahman or Brahman influenced cattle was in the desert. There they raised a better calf then the british. I feel it was because of their grazing traits. Where the british cattle tended to work out in circles around water sources in small circles, the Brahmans would cover a lot more country and be regularly moving into newer ungrazed areas and travel from water point to water point. The only time you would regularly find them in a given area was along the creeks that had plentiful grass and water. But even then, they would move out within a couple of days where the british would just camp in that spot. I think that the Brahman strong point isnn't "heat tolerance" but the ability to utilize wider range areas.

dun
 

D.R. Cattle

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
2,125
Reaction score
0
Location
East Central Florida
Heat tolerance can definitely be overrated, but I don't think it is in the case of bulls. When the cows start cycling, better not have your bull laying on the couch drinking beer in the AC. Another point in the tolerance department, tropical climates have more difficulty with insects, standing water and a host of other oddities. Animals deemed heat tolerant usually resist these problems a lot better than others. But your point is well made and taken. I do have a couple hodge podge cows that hide from sunlight and pretty much look like they are melting most of the time. Heck of it is they maintain excellent body condition, throw fine calves and nurse them just as well as the others.
 
OP
dun

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
2
Location
MO Ozarks
I don't feel that it's a heat tolerance issue, but heat does cause fertility problems. Excessive heat, whatever that may be, decreases the quantity of viable sperm, and excessive heat around 2 weeks post breeding can cause failure of implantation. The cow that stands around slobbering and heavy panting is having problems with the heat. We have had black and red cows that have the problem. But we've got blacks and reds now that don't seem to be particularly affected. Two heifers we're finishing right now are panters. One black, one red. Both of their dams have no problems with the heat. These girls, sired by different bulls just can't handle it. They'll work well in the freezer though

dun
 

Tod Dague

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
1,517
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Tx
I agree. I started out with Brangus and still have some. They defiantly handle heat better than my straight Red Angus but my Red Angus out performs the Brangus. Of course these are commercial Brangus and not high end registered Brangus. I have noticed that the shorter the hair coats the better tolerance for heat. I have paddocks that have almost no shade and the water comes in a trough so we can truly determine what cows can take the heat and who can't. I've also noted that the calves with their low body mass to surface area ratio aren't as bothered by the heat.
 

sidney411

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Messages
2,839
Reaction score
1
Location
South Central Texas
I have a few brahma cross cattle that seem to always be grazing. My herefords will be laid up in the shade or in the tank most of the day. I have one angus that is always with the brahmas grazing and she is fat as a hog. The biggest calf I have in the pasture is out of a brahma cross bred to a reg. angus bull. I have several calves that are 2 months older then him but he is definately the biggest calf I have now.

Are brahmas more insect tolerant or insect resistant? I ask this because I see just as many flies on the brahma cross cattle at the herefords and they throw their heads and swish their tails just as much also.

I have also noticed the herefords and angus come out of the winter looking better then the brahmans do though.
 

hillbilly

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2004
Messages
365
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Missouri
dun":2mtzii33 said:
I don't feel that it's a heat tolerance issue, but heat does cause fertility problems. Excessive heat, whatever that may be, decreases the quantity of viable sperm, and excessive heat around 2 weeks post breeding can cause failure of implantation. The cow that stands around slobbering and heavy panting is having problems with the heat. We have had black and red cows that have the problem. But we've got blacks and reds now that don't seem to be particularly affected. Two heifers we're finishing right now are panters. One black, one red. Both of their dams have no problems with the heat. These girls, sired by different bulls just can't handle it. They'll work well in the freezer though

dun

Are you feeding those heifers corn? corn= heat.
I've seen angus cows from North Dakota that weighed 1400+ with 2" long hair.
I've seen Angus cows from southern Ark. weigh 1000# tops slick as a show horse.
Enviorment seems to play as big a role as genetics.

Hillbilly
 

cherokeeruby

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
Messages
1,161
Reaction score
0
Location
TEXAS of course
Greeting one and all. Still traveling the old south, in Virginia now. Had to weight in on the heat tolerance discussion. Everyone is correct about the heat not being the only thing heat tolerance implies. Along with the heat tolerance is the inbred ability to withstand diseases and insects associated with those climates.

Brahmans do have smaller stomach than british breeds, they are designed to throw off heat not retain it. They never never never spend any time in the pond. And yes, they will lay out in the sun with a temperature of 110 basking in the heat.

During bad winters where I live they have a hard time. No weight is gained and they can clump up into a tight little bunch to share body heat. One winter we had a ice storm, father-in-law's angus-brangus cows were just fine with the ice sticking to their long hair. The brahman bull we had with them was shivering with the ice melting on his back.
 

Campground Cattle

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
2,533
Reaction score
0
Location
East Texas
cherokeeruby":2azwam3r said:
Greeting one and all. Still traveling the old south, in Virginia now. Had to weight in on the heat tolerance discussion. Everyone is correct about the heat not being the only thing heat tolerance implies. Along with the heat tolerance is the inbred ability to withstand diseases and insects associated with those climates.

Brahmans do have smaller stomach than british breeds, they are designed to throw off heat not retain it. They never never never spend any time in the pond. And yes, they will lay out in the sun with a temperature of 110 basking in the heat.

During bad winters where I live they have a hard time. No weight is gained and they can clump up into a tight little bunch to share body heat. One winter we had a ice storm, father-in-law's angus-brangus cows were just fine with the ice sticking to their long hair. The brahman bull we had with them was shivering with the ice melting on his back.

Not meaning to get any of the Brangus people upset but I have to agree with Ruby on this one in our enviroment. My Brangus don't take our hard wintier as well as the Brits.and weight is harder to maintain.
 

TheBullLady

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2004
Messages
3,537
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Texas
I've got Simmentals and Brahmans, and there is not doubt in my mind, but the Brahmans can tolerate the heat better than the Simmentals. But in the Simmental breed, there are individuals that are more heat tolerant than others.. and the lighter colored coats definately have an impact on that. I don't keep any black cattle that have heat tolerance problems, so I don't have many that will stand in the tank. (Which can cause foot problems)

Brahmans will graze during the hot periods of the day, while the Simmentals will generally find a shade tree. The Brahmans look good all summer, while the Simmentals will get "drawn" if we have a lot of hot weather day after day. The Brahmans don't like cold / wet weather, but we have so few days in a row of that here it hasn't really been a problem.
 

Latest posts

Top