Stress Factors of Farm Animals and Effects on Performance

Environmental and management stressors erode efficiency and cost livestock production enterprises billions of dollars annually in lost potential profitability. For example, in the absence of heat abatement measures, total losses across all animal classes averaged $2.4 billion annually as of 2003. Of the total, reduction in milk production potential represented a major portion of the losses to the dairy industry, which average between $897 million and $1.5 billion. Adverse weather conditions, including the effects of hot and cold climatic conditions, are particularly difficult for confinement beef cattle feeding enterprises.

This project has enhanced our understanding of stressors that impact domestic farm animal productivity; of factors that act as intermediaries to stress responses; and of management practices that can relieve stress within the environment to enhance animal comfort and maintain a secure, productive, and low-cost food supply.

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