Master of Science
Department or Program
The demand for beef around the United States has been growing exponentially over the years because of our growing population. This means that producers must maximize the growth and development of their cattle and herds in total so that they can meet that growing demand. Many factors come into consideration when making decisions on increasing the turnover rate on the farm, but one of those big decisions is weather, especially temperature and precipitation. These two variables can have a direct effect on the growth and development of cattle. If conditions are harsh, their feed intake could decrease because of sickness, and then take longer to meet the weight requirement for slaughter. This costs producers time and money because of having to keep them longer, feed them more, and pay for certain vaccinations in order to nurse them back to health.
This research takes a closer look at temperature and precipitation and how they affect the average daily gain of cattle. The region that I decided to focus on is Southern Illinois, because of the availability of data provided by the Bull Test Facility at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. My other source of information about weather variable is from the National Centers for Environmental Information. During the Fall of 2019, I started compiling all necessary information to complete the research project. The data I used was from 2001 through 2009.
My hope for this project is to find valuable information that will help producers manage their herds better and maximize their profits. Weather can be a very important factor when growing livestock and this could lead to a very important discovery. If the research is linked to lower average daily gains, then producers could justify building additional buildings or cover for animals to get under in order to escape the weather. This will help them increase their turnover rate for cattle and also maximize their overall profits.