Influence of climatic conditions on tympanic temperature and milk production in grazing cows
Keywords:body temperature, dairy cows performance, grazing systems, sensors
The present study aimed to analyze large volumes of tympanic temperature (TT) data to identify its use as a physiological indicator of climatic conditions and its relationship with milk production in grazing cows under tropical lowland conditions. Three dairy farms and 21 multiparous early lactation cows were included in the study. Seven animals were equipped with tympanic temperature wireless sensors within each farm, and permanent information was collected hourly for 22 days on average. Ambient temperature (AT), relative humidity (RH), wind speed (WS), precipitation (PP), and THI information were obtained from meteorological stations located close to each farm. Statistical analyses included Spearman correlations and random coefficient regression models (P < 0.05). TT presented moderate and significant correlations with AT (0.35 to 0.49), SR (0.25 to 0.32), THI (0.35 to 0.49), and RH (-0.35 to -0.49). Climatic variables like AT, PP, SR, and WS were the most contributing factors to TT prediction (R2 =0.42 to 0.86). Grazing dairy cows in tropical scenarios accumulate heat during the day and dissipate it at nighttime, although higher producing animals deal with more problems to reach thermal homeostasis. Correlations between TT and daily milk production varied according to animal yield; however, higher TT values were related to the most productive cows. The effect of TT on milk production prediction was not conclusive among farms, possibly by animal management or others characteristics of the systems. TT determination through remote sensors allows a reliable diagnosis of the physiological temperature response to climatic conditions.
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