New Publication Describes Basics of Low Stress Cattle Handling

Reducing cattle-handling stress results in multiple benefits

July 31, 2020, 9:51 am | Grant Dewell

AMES, Iowa – Low stress cattle handling can provide a multitude of benefits, including improved performance, animal welfare and handling efficiency. However, with a variety of techniques and approaches advocated by different experts, cattle producers may be unsure which direction to take with their own operation.

beef cattle.A new publication from Iowa Beef Center called “Low Stress Cattle Handling” explains the common positive aspects of these systems, which are basic to understanding cattle responses regardless of system.

Grant Dewell, extension beef veterinarian with Iowa State University, authored the publication along with Suzanne Millman and Rebecca Parsons, of Iowa State’s Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine department, and Renee Dewell, with the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State.

“Low stress cattle handling is important to improve the welfare of cattle, handling efficiency and consumer confidence,” Dewell said. “Understanding the natural behavior of cattle is important to being able to introduce low stress cattle handling and to identify challenges in current facilities that make handling difficult.”

The four-page document provides an overview of the natural behavior of cattle and describes general principles of handling cattle. The section on facilities includes two simple designs used most commonly for low stress cattle handing. The information and awareness are helpful for all ages of cattle and types of operation.

For more information, contact Grant Dewell at 515-294-2822, or


Original photo: Beef cattle.

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