Andrew Wiebe presenting on cattle heat load at NCCARF 2013

Talking heat stress for cattle and people at climate adaptation conference

Katestone’s Andrew Wiebe and Scott Losee shared ideas and experiences with the audience at the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) conference in Sydney (June 25-27).

Andrew’s presentation, entitled “Improved climate-readiness of intensive livestock management through use of a Heat Load Index as an indicator of heat stress”, investigated the difference between a heat wave event and a heat load event with application to both cattle and humans.

“Media reports commonly focus on the forecast daily maximum temperature as the indicator of an upcoming heatwave.  However, the important roles of high humidity, light winds and intense solar radiation in the generation of heat stress are not credited.”

Andrew’s research (with help from Christine and Anthony) found that the current indicators used by humans to measure heat stress, such as the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), do not account for potentially important factors such as overnight recovery, acclimatisation, evaporative cooling and latent heat load.

“The Australian feedlot industry are ready to tackle a changing climate but are we?”, Andrew said.

The presentation generated a lot of discussion among the attending researches and will hopefully provide some useful insight into the key drivers in human heat stress.

“We are looking forward to extending the extensive research for heat stress in feedlot cattle to provide options for improved human heat stress forecasts,” Andrew said.

NCCARF was attended by 540 researchers, practitioners and government representatives from Australia and overseas who represented Australia’s world-leading knowledge about climate adaptation.

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