Date of this Version
The Professional Animal Scientist 15:53-62
In Exp. 1, six individually fed Hereford steers were exposed to hot (HOT) or thermoneutral (TNL) environmental conditions (ENV) while being adapted (stepped-up) to a finishing diet by decreasing roughage level from 55 to 10% of the diet DM over 17 d. Only at 10% roughage did heat exposure result in reduced (P<0.05) calculated ME intake (MEI) and measured DMI. In the TNL treatment group, pulse rates increased as MEI and diet energy density increased (P<0.05), whereas in the HOT treatment group, pulse rate tended to decline when MEI declined. Body temperature (BT) of steers increased under both TNL and HOT conditions. In Exp. 2, six individually fed feedlot steers were assigned in a replicated (n = 3) 2 ´ 3 factorial arrangement of treatments and exposed to HOT or TNL ENV, whereas the diet treatments were a 6% roughage diet fed ad libitum (HE), or 90% of ad libitum (RE), or a 28% roughage diet (HR) fed ad libitum such that MEI approximated the MEI of the RE group. Steers fed HR diets had lower (P<0.05) respiratory rate and BT than HE and RE fed steers. Steers fed RE diets had greater (P<0.05) water intake than HE fed steers when averaged across ENV. Lower BT (P<0.05) of cattle fed RE and HR would indicate MEI prior to exposure to excessive heat load (EHL) influences ability of cattle to cope with subsequent exposure to excessive heat load. Data also indicate that adapting cattle to high energy diets partially contributes to EHL.