Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Doug Overhults

Second Advisor

Dr. George Day

Abstract

Sound pressure level (SPL) is known to cause stress in cattle but is often overlooked as a potential source of fear for cattle when designing handling equipment. Current literature does not offer guidelines for the design of equipment with regard to SPL. It is, however, recommended that handling equipment should be designed to minimize the SPL during handling. The purpose of this experiment was to measure stress levels in a group of cattle which were subjected to a series of varying sounds in order to determine a design threshold limit for handling equipment. Treatments included two frequencies, 1 kHz and 8 kHz, and three intensities, 40, 80, and 120dB. These treatments were assigned to the cattle using a completely randomized two by three factorial design replicated three times for a total of 18 animals being tested. A computer generated noise at each level was played back to the animals once a week for 6 weeks. Stress levels were measured using both physiological (heart rate and eye temperature) and physical (sudden movement) measures. Experiments yielded mixed results and did not prove that any of the sound pressure levels tested had any great effect on the stress level of the cattle.

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