Genetic Component of Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle, Development of Heat Index Function

O Ravagnolo, I Misztal, G Hoogenboom
Journal of Dairy Science 2000, 83 (9): 2120-5
Production data obtained from AIPL USDA included 119,337 first-parity, test-day records of 15,012 Holsteins from 134 Georgia farms collected in 1990 to 1997. Weather information was obtained from the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network and included daily minimum, average, and maximum temperatures and humidity for 21 stations throughout the state. Each test-day record was augmented with weather information from the closest weather station. Analyses were based on models that included effects of herd-year-season, age, test day, milking frequency, and several types of heat and humidity. The best model used a temperature-humidity index. With this model, the average test-day yield for milk was about 26.3 kg for a temperature-humidity index <72 and decreased at about 0.2 kg per unit increase in the temperature-humidity index for a temperature-humidity index > or =72. For fat and protein, the test yield was 0.92 and 0.85 kg at a temperature-humidity index <72, respectively, and declined at a rate of 0.012 and 0.009 kg per degree of the temperature-humidity index, respectively. The temperature-humidity index calculated with the available weather information can be used to account for the effect of heat stress on production.

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