Ag Data Commons
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Data from: Can measurements of foraging behaviour predict variation in weight gains of free-ranging cattle?

posted on 2024-02-16, 23:15 authored by David J. Augustine, Edward J. Raynor, Sean P. Kearney, Justin D. Derner

Technologies are now available to continuously monitor livestock foraging behaviours, but it remains unclear whether such measurements can meaningfully inform livestock grazing management decisions. Empirical studies in extensive rangelands are needed to quantify relationships between short-term foraging behaviours (e.g. minutes to days) and longer-term measures of animal performance. The objective of this study was to examine whether four different ways of measuring daily foraging behaviour (grazing-bout duration, grazing time per day, velocity while grazing, and turn angle while grazing) were related to weight gain by free-ranging yearling steers grazing semiarid rangeland. These data include measurements interpreted from yearling steer outfitted with neck collars supporting a solar-powered device that measured GPS locations at 5 minute intervals and used an accelerometer to predict grazing activity at 4 second intervals. Average daily weight gains of steers are included as well as an estimate of standing forage biomass derived from the Harmonized Landsat-Sentinel remote-sensing product. These data support research to advance knowledge regarding the use of on-animal sensors that monitor foraging behaviour, which have the potential to transmit indicators to livestock managers in real time (e.g. daily). This approach can help inform decisions such as when to move animals among paddocks, or when to sell or transition animals from rangeland to confined feeding operations.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: Means of Moonitor Metrics from 2019-2020 Study Periods.

    File Name: Moo2019-20_dailymetrics_w_ADG_by_studyperiod.csv

  • Resource Title: Data Dictionary for Means of Moonitor Metrics from 2019-2020 Study Period.

    File Name: Moo2019-20_dailymetrics_w_ADG_by_studyperiod_dictionary.csv

  • Resource Title: Daily Moonitor Metrics from 2019-2020.

    File Name: Moo2019-20_dailymetrics_database.csv

  • Resource Title: Data Dictionary for Daily Moonitor Metrics from 2019-2020.

    File Name: Moo2019-20_dailymetrics_database_dictionary.csv


USDA-ARS: 3012-21610-001-00D


Data contact name

Augustine, David

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

These data were produced to understand the relationships between foraging behaviour metrics and cattle weight gain.

Use limitations

Authors recommend contacting them with any questions about uses beyond inferences contained in the related publication.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

Central Plains Experimental Range is a ~6400 ha Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network site in northeast Colorado, USA (40˚50’N, 104˚43’W, 1645 m above sea level))

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Central Plains Experimental Range
  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

foraging; weight gain; grazing management; grazing; empirical research; rangelands; yearlings; steers; neck; collars; global positioning systems; accelerometers; forage; biomass; remote sensing; managers; pastures; average daily gain; steppes

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 215

Primary article PubAg Handle

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Augustine, David J.; Raynor, Edward J.; Kearney, Sean P.; Derner, Justin D. (2022). Data from: Can measurements of foraging behaviour predict variation in weight gains of free-ranging cattle?. Ag Data Commons.