Environmental factors affecting daily water intake on cattle finished in feedlots
- Records from 7 studies conducted during 1999 to 2005 were utilized to assess the effects of environmental factors on daily water intake (DWI) of finishing cattle. Data from unshaded feedlot pens (up to 24 pens utilized per study; 6 to 9 animals.pen(-1)) containing predominantly Angus crossbred cattle were obtained by dividing total water intake by the number of animals utilizing that waterer. Each waterer was shared by 2 pens; therefore, data were derived from a database containing 72 experimental units comprising 144 pen records. Climatic data were compiled from weather stations located at the feedlot facility. The database included daily measures of mean ambient (Ta), maximum (Tmax), and minimum (Tmin) temperature (degrees C), precipitation, relative humidity (%), wind speed (m.s(-1)), solar radiation (SR, W.m(-2)), and temperature-humidity index (THI), as well as DMI (kg.d(-1)) and DWI (L.d(-1)). Simple and multiple regression analyses were conducted by season and for the overall data set. Results confirmed that DWI increases during the summer (P < 0.01). When seasons were combined and analyzed by linear regression, the best predictors of DWI were THI (r(2) = 0.57), Ta (r(2) = 0.57), Tmin (r(2) = 0.56), and Tmax (r(2) = 0.54). In multiple regression analyses, smaller coefficients of determination (R-2 < 0.25) were found within summer and winter seasons. Across season, the largest R-2 (0.65) were obtained from the following prediction equations: 1) DWI = 5.92 + (1.03.DMI) + (0.04.SR) + (0.45.Tmin); and 2) DWI = -7.31 + (1.00.DMI) + (0.04.SR) + (0.30.THI). In conclusion, Ta, Tmin, and THI were found to be the primary factors that influence DWI in finishing cattle, whereas SR and DMI were found to have a smaller influence on DWI.