Dam-offspring pairing using proximity loggers fitted on Raramuri Criollo cows and calves grazing desert rangeland

TitleDam-offspring pairing using proximity loggers fitted on Raramuri Criollo cows and calves grazing desert rangeland
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSimpson C., Nyamuryekung'e S., Cibils AF, Estell RE, Gonzalez AL, McIntosh MM, Spiegal S.
Conference NameSociety for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Date Published2/15/2021
ARIS Log Number383796

Proximity loggers are sensors that transmit and receive UHF radio signals and have been used to investigate social behavior in livestock. Previous studies that used these devices found that cow-calf contact events occur throughout the day at intervals that likely reflect nursing events. We determined the feasibility of utilizing proximity data to correctly identify cow-calf pairs within a herd of Raramuri Criollo cattle grazing Chihuahuan Desert rangeland. The study was conducted at the Jornada Experimental Range on a 4300 ha pasture that was lightly stocked (216 ha/AUM). Ten proximity loggers were deployed on five cow-calf pairs during the summer/fall of 2015 and 2016 (21days/deployment). All calves were <2 weeks old at the onset of the study. The loggers recorded time of initiation and duration of contacts any time another logger was within a one-meter radius of the subject. We used one-way analysis of variance to analyze daily contact duration patterns between each collared cow and all collared calves in the herd. Except for one cow in the herd (Dam25), all dams spent significantly more time within 1 m of their offspring vs. other collared calves in the herd (P<0.05). Proximity logger data yielded cow-calf pairings that were 100% accurate. Newer less expensive technology such as Bluetooth-enabled wearable livestock sensors offers opportunities to track cow-calf contact patterns in real time and could help ranchers identify dam-offspring pairs using the analytical approach followed in this study. This approach could be particularly useful for rangeland cow-calf producers that run seedstock operations.