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July No. 3

Trees in Pastures: Do Cattle Benefit from Shade?

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 By Steve Sharrow, Oregon State University

One visible effect of including trees in pastures is the shady haven which they provide for livestock o­n hot summer days. The benefits of providing protection from the hot rays of the summer sun are obvious. After all, that is why we wear a hat! It easily follows that animals, which are unable to shelter from the direct sun during the heat of the day, will have to expend energy to deal with their discomfort and/or reduce their feeding activity. Their productivity should decline in proportion to the time spent under these unfavorable conditions. Increased livestock production during hot weather is often promoted by agroforesters as o­ne of the benefits of having trees. However, there is very little published research available to either verify or disprove this widely held belief.

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