Clipping the backs of cattle when they are housed in the autumn is now common practice. By avoiding cattle over heating their performance is improved as they eat more. The less food cattle eat, the less heat they produce and the easier it is for them to maintain their normal body temperature.
In comparison it is almost unheard of for finishing cattle, housed over the summer to be clipped along their back even though temperatures are much hotter and the days longer.
The big difference is their coat. In the winter it will have a high insulating value, with a dense undercoat of very fine, dense fluff protected with longer, normal hairs. In comparison their summer coat will consist of just short hairs and have a lower insulating value.
The question is – would it be worthwhile clipping the backs of finishing cattle which are housed over the summer. With the couple of minutes taken to clip such a short coat my guess is that the resultant improvement in daily feed intake and hence growth rate would be reflected in an earlier finish and show a much greater saving in feed costs than the cost of clipping.
Basil Lowman, firstname.lastname@example.org
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