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Extent and economic effect of heat loads on dairy cattle production in Australia

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Mayer, D.G., Davison, T.M., McGowan, M.R., Young, B.A., Matschoss, A.L., Hall, A.B., Goodwin, P.J., Jonsson, N.N. and Gaughan, J.B. (1999) Extent and economic effect of heat loads on dairy cattle production in Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal, 77 (12). pp. 804-808. ISSN 0005-0423

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.1999.tb12950.x


Objective: To investigate the extent of heat load problems, caused by the combination of excessive temperature and humidity, in Holstein-Friesian cows in Australia. Also, to outline how milk production losses and consequent costs from this can be estimated and minimised.

Procedures: Long-term meteorological data for Australia were analysed to determine the distribution of hot conditions over space and time. Fifteen dairy production regions were identified for higher-resolution data analysis. Both the raw meteorological data and their integration into a temperature-humidity thermal index were compiled onto a computer program. This mapping software displays the distribution of climatic patterns, both Australia-wide and within the selected dairying regions. Graphical displays of the variation in historical records for 200 locations in the 15 dairying regions are also available. As a separate study, production data from research stations, on-farm trials and milk factory records were statistically analysed and correlated with the climatic indices, to estimate production losses due to hot conditions.

Results: Both milk yields and milk constituents declined with increases in the temperature-humidity index. The onset and rate of this decline are dependent on a number of factors, including location, level of production, adaptation, and management regime. These results have been integrated into a farm-level economic analysis for managers of dairy properties.

Conclusion: By considering the historical patterns of hot conditions over time and space, along with expected production losses, managers of dairy farms can now conduct an economic evaluation of investment strategies to alleviate heat loads. These strategies include the provision of sprinklers, shade structures, or combinations of these.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Animal culture > Cattle > Dairying
Live Archive:06 Mar 2024 00:46
Last Modified:06 Mar 2024 00:46

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