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Shading with photovoltaic panels to beef cattle: a study on thermal equilibrium, on the economic viability and environmental impact

Abstract

Most of the 220 million Brazilian beef cattle herd are managed in pasture or feedlots, where they are exposed to air temperature above 30°C and solar radiation above 800 W m-2. These conditions cause heat stress in cattle, especially for European breeds and their crossings. One alternative to reduce heat stress is to provide artificial shades for animals, which has been shown by previous research to improve comfort and welfare of livestock. The biggest challenge for Brazilian farmers to implement artificial shades is the implementation cost. In this research project, we will investigate the feasibility of proving artificial shades for beef cattle through photovoltaic panels. This project will answer the question of what impacts shades from photovoltaic panels have on Nelore x Angus breed, which is important given that different shade materials have different impacts on reducing heat stress and on improving welfare of livestock. In addition, the economic and environmental viability of building artificial shades with photovoltaic panels will be studied. The expected impact of this research project is on providing farmers with a new artificial shade structure that will produce renewable and clean energy while improving comfort and welfare of livestock and increasing the profits of farming. (AU)

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