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A comparison of commonly used and novel electronic techniques for evaluating cattle temperament

Schwartzkopf-Genswein, K.S., Shah, M.A., Church, J.S., Haley, D.B., Janzen, K., Truong, G., Atkins, R.P., Crowe, T.G. (2012). A comparison of commonly used and novel electronic techniques for evaluating cattle temperament, 92(1), 21-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/cjas2011-040

Abstract

The temperament of steers (n=28) was assessed using five quantitative techniques including: flight time, flight distance, electronic (strain-gauge and accelerometer) tests, and three visual scores (VS) made during entry, restraint and exit from a squeeze chute. The objective of this study was to determine the most important predictive parameters based on those measurements and evaluate the relationship between the techniques. Flight time and distance were correlated with exit VS (r=-0.51, and 0.41, PB0.05; n=56), but were not related to restraint VS. Data from straingauge and accelerometer sensors were used to generate parameters such as peak response and area under the curve that were correlated with all three VS. Regression models using VS as the dependent variable and a combination of 2 to 5 parameters from the strain-gauge and accelerometer tests as independent variables predicted temperament with values of 29 to 65 or 41 to 57%, respectively. When all techniques, excluding VS, were used as independent variables, model accuracy increased to 72, 81 and 77% for restraint, exit and the sum of all VS, respectively. These findings suggest the objective measures of temperament assessed in this study could be used to identify highly reactive animals.

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