Sorting Feedlot Cattle By Temperament Could Be Valuable Management Strategy

Temperamental cattle show fewer respiratory issues, but lower quality grades in UNL-USDA-Kansas State study

Published on: May 6, 2014

"The temperamental cattle may have more resilient immune systems," Carroll said. "Research has suggested that temperamental cattle have an altered immune response and display limited clinical symptoms of illness and this altered immune response may be a more resilient immune response compared to non-temperamental based upon these findings."

Schmidt and colleagues also found that cattle classified as temperamental had lighter carcass weight at harvest and decreased quality grades. More than 53% of the non-temperamental cattle received a quality grade of choice, compared to 49% of the temperamental animals.

Schmidt said the findings from this trial "suggest that utilization of temperament may be a viable management tool for feedlots. It might provide for a unique management strategy that might increase returns on these temperamental animals."

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With the difference in lung damage in the temperamental cattle at the time of harvest, and previous research indicating limited clinical signs of illness in temperamental cattle, segregation may allow for some modifications to the processing procedures and management of these cattle to take advantage of this alterations, Schmidt said.

Alterations may also be introduced in terms of nutritional management, or even modification of days to feed to overcome the decreased body weight of the temperamental cattle.  However, before this type of segregation can be used in commercial feedlot, there is still a need to further evaluate this methodology, Schmidt added.

The next step for the research team is to determine temperament upon arrival and then sort the cattle based upon temperament.

Source: UNL