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Dave Schmidt of Audubon was the first member to get a chance to use PFI’s new FLIR One thermal camera. Dave has both black and red-hided cattle and has noted differences in their susceptibility to being bothered by flies in the past (http://practicalfarmers.org/farmer-knowledge/research-reports/2015/fly-monitoring-for-grazing-cattle-2014/). This time he wanted to know whether red-hided cattle were more heat-tolerant than black-hided cattle. To do this, he used the FLIR One thermal camera device to take photos of the left side of about 40 of his cattle perpendicularly from about the same distance. Then, he used the FLIR Tools app to isolate data from a box from behind the shoulder to the back of each animal, and recorded the minimum, maximum, and average temperatures within that box.
The difference between the average temperature between red and black hided cattle was not statistically significant. The average temperatures of the red cattle ranged from 94.4-109.2°F with an average of 102.7°F, while the average temperatures of the black cattle ranged from 96.1-118.4°F with an average of 105.4°F.
Check out some of the cool pictures Dave took. You can see that the camera takes a picture of both the actual image (left) and the thermal image, then blends the two together (right).
Please call (515-232-5661) or email: [email protected] if you are interested in trying out the camera on your farm.