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Comparison of the impact of six heat-load management strategies on thermal responses and milk production of feed-pad and pasture fed dairy cows in a subtropical environment

Davison, T. M., Jonsson, N. N., Mayer, D. G., Gaughan, J. B., Ehrlich, W. K. and McGowan, M. R. (2016) Comparison of the impact of six heat-load management strategies on thermal responses and milk production of feed-pad and pasture fed dairy cows in a subtropical environment. International Journal of Biometeorology . ISSN 0020-7128

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-016-1183-2

Abstract

Exposure to hot environments affects milk yield (MY) and milk composition of pasture and feed-pad fed dairy cows in subtropical regions. This study was undertaken during summer to compare MY and physiology of cows exposed to six heat-load management treatments. Seventy-eight Holstein-Friesian cows were blocked by season of calving, parity, milk yield, BW, and milk protein (%) and milk fat (%) measured in 2 weeks prior to the start of the study. Within blocks, cows were randomly allocated to one of the following treatments: open-sided iron roofed day pen adjacent to dairy (CID) + sprinklers (SP); CID only; non-shaded pen adjacent to dairy + SP (NSD + SP); open-sided shade cloth roofed day pen adjacent to dairy (SCD); NSD + sprinkler (sprinkler on for 45 min at 1100 h if mean respiration rate >80 breaths per minute (NSD + WSP)); open-sided shade cloth roofed structure over feed bunk in paddock + 1 km walk to and from the dairy (SCP + WLK). Sprinklers for CID + SP and NSD + SP cycled 2 min on, 12 min off when ambient temperature >26°C. The highest milk yields were in the CID + SP and CID treatments (23.9 L cow−1 day−1), intermediate for NSD + SP, SCD and SCP + WLK (22.4 L cow−1 day−1), and lowest for NSD + WSP (21.3 L cow−1 day−1) (P < 0.05). The highest (P < 0.05) feed intakes occurred in the CID + SP and CID treatments while intake was lowest (P < 0.05) for NSD + WSP and SCP + WLK. Weather data were collected on site at 10-min intervals, and from these, THI was calculated. Nonlinear regression modelling of MY × THI and heat-load management treatment demonstrated that cows in CID + SP showed no decline in MY out to a THI break point value of 83.2, whereas the pooled MY of the other treatments declined when THI >80.7. A combination of iron roof shade plus water sprinkling throughout the day provided the most effective control of heat load.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Heat-load – Cooling strategies – Subtropical – Dairy production
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle > Dairying
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Deposited On:16 May 2016 02:59
Last Modified:16 May 2016 02:59

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