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Why pasture shade pays

Several research trials show shade in pastures produces financial reward, but returns vary with weather and cattle heat tolerance.

Shade can be a valuable resource for all cattle, but may be especially important for the predominantly black-coated genetics in this country, which springs from British and Continental European cattle never selected for heat tolerance.

Obviously, this has been shown extremely important in confinement situations like the feedlot, but appears to be quite valuable in pasture.

A quick review of research on pasture shade in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri showed these advantages:

Arkansas -- 20% higher gains for stocker cattle with shade than for those without.

Florida -- Cows with shade had conception rates of 44.4%, compared with 25.3% for cattle without shade.

READ: 5 tips for minimizing heat stress in cattle

Kentucky -- Animals with adequate shade gained at these rates over those without.

  • Cows - 1.2 pounds per day
  • Calves - 0.4 pounds per day
  • Steers - 0.9 pounds per day

Read more about the benefits of pasture shade by clicking here.


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