Brody Environmental Center

The Corner Stone

There is no center in the world that matches the BEC in capability for the study of environmental stress in domestic animals. The Climatology Chambers are focus sites for researchers who require state-of-the-art climate control to evaluate animal health and performance.

The Climatology Chambers have the ability to facilitate all species of animals. Cattle and swine are regularly housed in the chambers. However, equipment for poultry and sheep is available.

Pig Chambers, Dairy Chambers, Poultry Chambers, cow

Studies in the Climatology Chambers are expanded by the recent use of biosensors and radiotelemetry. Animal monitoring systems that use these state-of-the-art technologies are rapidly becoming cost effective, and expand development of comfort systems and management strategies to improve animal health and well-being.

The transmitters for the rodents are the size of a dime. The signals are picked up by an antennae that the animal's cage rests on. This improvement decreases reliance on antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and ultimately maintains the supply of a high quality, safe and secure food supply for the global consumer. Research in the BEC utilizes combined, interdisciplinary expertise from interrelated areas, including physiology (environmental and reproductive), nutrition, behavior, muscle biology, immunology, veterinary and human medicine, engineering, and atmospheric sciences. Research scientists and educators work together to develop and disseminate effective, integrated solutions to reduce environmental stress.

BEC Flow Chart

The Future

Future research interactions will allow for the determination of:

• relationships between the environment and animal performance

• the effects of environmental toxins and procedures for relief

• critical endpoints for production, reproduction and immune functions affected by environmental stress

• animal or species sensitivity to environmental stressors and development of:

• genetic markers that identify environmental stress in livestock

• strategies for stress relief that contribute to animal health and well-being

• nutritional regimes to produce efficient growth and development in different environment

BEC Goals


• Biosensor technology that allow for real-time assessment of health status for domestic animals

• Integrated systems that utilize animals thermal balance, ambient conditions, and predicted weather patterns to operate animal comfort systems

• Animal management and comfort systems that reduce environmental stress to enhance animal health and performance

• Understanding of changes in animal gene expression associated with environmental stress

• Scientists who will develop practical solutions for long-term problems of climate change that are associated with global warming and air quality

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Today's Challenges

Annual impact of environment on health and general well-being of animals in agriculture totals is at least $8 billion.

Summer heat stress reduces milk production rate and reproductive efficiency of dairy cows to produce an annual loss of $5-6 billion.

More than 22 million acres of fescue produced for over 7 million cattle are infected with a fungus. Consumption of infected fescue and exposure to heat stress produces reproductive losses and reduced weight gain that results in a $600 million annual loss to beef cattle producers.

Heat stress depressed profitability of swine production, with reduced feed intake, growth rate, lean tissue accretion, lactation.

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