Heat Stress (2): Assessment

Technical article published in number 250 of the Frisona Espaola magazine


Although perhaps we should have asked this question in our previous paper, the first in this series devoted to heat stress (CE), why are cows today more heat stressed than we were 30-40 years ago? Or is it that, perhaps, it was not talked about before? It is evident that current cows produce much more heat, due to their greater weight and size, their greater production and, therefore, their high consumption. We can say that they are authentic “stoves” (Figure 1). And it is also evident that they seem to have greater difficulty in eliminating heat, also for various reasons:

  • A large part of dairy production, precisely the one with the highest productivity, is concentrated in hot areas of the planet (Southern United States, Israel). Also in Spain there is a high milk production in areas of high temperatures.
  • The hot seasons seem to last longer, extend to large areas of the territory and be more intense. As these lines are written, the second heat wave of this summer is in full swing (Figure 2).
  • Shelters are not always well designed, dimensioned and managed (Figure 3).

Therefore, it is necessary to equip yourself with some tools to fight against CE. The first of these is to know what we are measuring. The elaboration of indices for animals of zootechnical interest, in general, and for dairy cattle, in particular, are intended to provide a tool for decision-making. Indeed, management is based on being able to analyze parameters that can be measured or counted and, based on the values ​​that these parameters take, act accordingly, or prevent to avoid unwanted situations. For this reason, the analysis and evaluation of heat stress must be based on figures, the result of measurements, and this is what we are going to deal with in this work.

As already mentioned in a previous article (Spanish Frisian No. 249), dairy cows prefer thermal values ​​between 0 and 24 ºC, being able to maintain their production even at temperatures of -10 ºC. However, these animals begin to experience heat stress at a temperature of 25°C, with normal levels of relative humidity.

If you want to read the full article, you can download it from this link or also from “Documents”.

Technical article published by Antonio Callejo Ramos in number 250 of the magazine Frisona Espaola.

All the articles this animal welfare series:

Welfare in dairy farms (I): Concept of welfare

Welfare in dairy cattle farms (II): stress

Welfare on dairy farms (III): Welfare assessment (1)

Welfare on dairy farms (IV): Welfare assessment (2)

Welfare on dairy farms (V): Welfare assessment (3)

Welfare on Dairy Farms (VI): Welfare Assessment (and 4)

– Welfare in dairy cattle farms (VII): Heat stress (1)

– Welfare in dairy cattle farms (VIII): Heat stress (2): Evaluation

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Another look at the 21 CONAFE National Drivers Championship 2022

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The Nanta Livestock Chair of Precision is born at the University of Zaragoza

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