At an online seminar (21.06. 2022) at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, veterinarian Kristi Männamets gave a presentation. She presented various related research projects for the topic “Light as a performance enhancer - Does beef farming need a light regime?”

The effects of light regime are detectable in different cattle production systems. At the seminar most information was presented for studies with dairy cattle, but also for beef cattle including fattening of beef cattle.

Click to see a recording of the webinar (the veterinarian presentation starts at min. 19)

The PPT-Slides from the webinar are available as download (see below)

The right light regime can increase cattle growth. In dairy cows, it has been shown that cows ingested more feed at longer photoperiods and had a longer feeding activity, which was also more evenly distributed compared to cows fed at short photoperiods. For beef cattle, body weight was higher and fat content lower in the group fed on a longer photoperiod.

The main obstacle for this innovation is the modification of existing lighting solutions. However, it is good to be aware of the possibilities and to deliberately light the feeding alleys accordingly.

The cost for this innovation is the replacement of the existing lighting solution. If there is no supplementary lighting in the animal feeding area, the additional lighting + electricity cost is moderate. However, it is important to notice that additional lighting alone may not translate automatically into increased weight gain if other welfare conditions are not properly met.

After the webinar the Estonian team recommended additional lighting to beef cattle farmers in Estonia. Feedback from farmers listening to the webinar indicated that this would be an innovation they would definitely consider, as it is a relatively low-cost activity.