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Initiative 20

Developing a nutrition program for Feedlots during a heat crisis

A review was commissioned to examine the latest research directions, findings and thinking in understanding the responses of cattle dealing with increased environmental heat load. The review concluded that the commonly observed characteristics of heat stress (reduction of feed intake, reduced appetite and lethargy) are the result of systemic endocrine, metabolic and inflammatory changes; and that altered rumen and gut health is most likely at the centre of high heat load morbidity and poor recovery after heat stress.

Research undertaken by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

What are we doing?

This project will investigate this hypothesis, and deliver new nutritional strategies for a forecast heat event. It will also investigate whether there is a need for separate strategies for the high risk periods of summer or for all of the summer period. The work program consists of four project areas; three projects test or gather evidence for the hypothesis that “Heat stress causes gut and liver damage with resultant metabolic and systemic and local inflammatory consequences”. Should this hypothesis prevail, the fourth project offers the opportunity to test nutritional interventions that act as gut ‘protectants’ or address the metabolic and/or inflammatory disturbances.

Timing:

January 2019