Technical note: Automatic sorting of free-ranging cattle

TitleTechnical note: Automatic sorting of free-ranging cattle
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsAnderson D.M., Rouda R.R., Murray L.W., Pieper, Rex D.
JournalJournal of Range Management
Date Published1992
Keywordsautomation, body weight, cattle, cattle feeding, cottonseed protein, dietary supplements, drinking, free range husbandry, sorting, weight determination

An automated system to weigh and sort free-ranging cattle was adapted to administer cottonseed pellets (41% crude protein) to free-ranging cattle. The frequency with which animals drank water determined the interval between supplemental feedings. The automatic spacing of individual animals was the weakest link in the chain of events leading to the sorting of cattle into groups to administer treatments. Periodically during the study, free-standing water was available due to above-average precipitation. This resulted in an inconsistent supplementation schedule because animals did not have to return through the maze to drink water. Single herd management eliminated potential pasture-treatment confounding but accentuated individual animal behavior which resulted in a range of supplement intakes and drinking water patterns.