Sorting Feedlot Cattle for Metabolism and Growth by Infrared Thermal Imaging
Small Business Information
1500 Hayes Drive, Manhattan, KS, 66502
AbstractVariation in growth performance and health of feedlot cattle leads to large differences in weigh or degree of finish at the point of harvest. Carcass quality losses alone cost the industry $3.5 billion annually. Traditional management practices of sorting cattle by weight and physical characteristics to minimize variation fail to take into consideration individual feed intake and metabolic rate as a determinant of performance. Metabolic rate and subsequent energy losses are related to feed intake. Infrared thermography measures radiant enerty losses from an animal's body surface. Introduction of this technology into a feedlot environment would allow sorting of cattle into groups of similar metabolic profile. This management application could minimize wide variability in feed intake and performance seen in unsorted cattle and allow evaluation of alternate management practices to reduce manure load and antimicrobial usage. The objective of this Phase I proposal are to: 1) integrate rapid, automated image processing and analysis into the interpretation of thermal data and link data to a unique individual animal identifcation; and 2) establish proof of concept of a unique pen design for remote image acquisition from large numbers of cattle in a feedlot environment.
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