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Keywords

dairy cattle, heat stress, temperature-humidity index, heat abatement

Abstract

Heat stress represents a challenge for the dairy industry. In order for producers to implement appropriate management practices, it is crucial for researchers to assess the extent of heat stress to which cows are exposed during the summer. Temperaturehumidity index (THI) may be used to determine the severity of heat stress that cows are exposed to during the summer. The objective of this study was to evaluate climate conditions by calculating THI using information from: 1) an official meteorological station, 2) loggers at the pen-level, and 3) loggers at the cow-level from a commercial dairy located in southwest Kansas. Temperature-humidity index at the cow-level was correlated with THI at the pen-level and THI from the nearest official meteorological station to the dairy. Despite the correlations, cow-level THI was 6.8 and 19.2 units greater than pen-level and station-level THI, respectively. Weather data obtained from farm-level measurements are more accurate than information collected from an official meteorological station to assess the intensity of heat stress conditions. Nonetheless, it is important to note that pen-level THI underestimates the index at the cow-level. This difference is likely to occur because of microclimates within the pen.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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