Non-invasive monitoring of hot-iron brands on growing cattle Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract Hot-iron branding is a traditional form of permanent cattle identification that produces a scar. There is a need for science-based determination of cattle brand age through non-invasive monitoring of the healing process. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) has been used by medical forensic scientists to obtain such information. Healing of cutaneous injury involves inflammatory (1 to 3 d), proliferative (4 to 21 d), and remodeling (22 to 365 d) phases. Collagen changes as burn scars mature, i.e. there is an increase in the Type I/ Type III collagen ratio compared to normal skin. The altered ratio is evident in a transformation of collagen from a basketweave arrangement to small parallel bundles. During the remodeling phase, due largely to the Type I/III collagen ratio, scar tissue becomes visibly different than un-injured skin. Previous research has examined the differences in hot-iron brands applied to nursing (~30 d old) Bos taurus cross calves at 0, 33, and 153 d post-branding. Our objective was to continue this research by obtaining near infrared spectra (11001700nm) on hot-iron brands applied to 15 weaned (~ 270 d old; 238 7kg) Bos taurus cross steers at 21, 32, and 51 d post-branding. Spectra were obtained on branded (n = 3) and unbranded (n = 3) skin tissue from each animal, each date. Hair was clipped to < 5mm on unbranded skin. Spectra were analyzed as log 1/reflectance with 1st derivative and scatter correction applied. Linear discriminant analysis and regression procedures were applied to distinguish between brand treatment and date post-branding. Spectra from branded and unbranded skin were correctly (P < 0.05) identified at ~95%. Brand age was predicted successfully (P < 0.05) but not accurately enough for forensic application (RSQ = 0.50; RMSE = 9.75 d). The NIRS technique can discriminate differences in the age of cattle brand scars but numerical prediction requires further investigation.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Tolleson, D. R., Campbell, E., Garza, N., & Moen, R.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Tolleson, Douglas R||Campbell, Erika||Garza, Nick||Moen, Robert

publication date

  • July 2019