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Int J Biometeorol. 1992 May;36(2):77-87.

Environmental profile and critical temperature effects on milk production of Holstein cows in desert climate.

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Division of Biosciences, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-0608.


The environmental profile of central Arizona is quantitatively described using meteorological data between 1971 and 1986. Utilizing ambient temperature criteria of hours per day less than 21 degrees C, between 21 and 27 degrees C, and more than 27 degrees C, the environmental profile of central Arizona consists of varying levels of thermoneutral and heat stress periods. Milk production data from two commercial dairy farms from March 1990 to February 1991 were used to evaluate the seasonal effects identified in the environmental profile. Overall, milk production is lower during heat stress compared to thermoneutral periods. During heat stress, the cool period of hours per day with temperature less than 21 degrees C provides a margin of safety to reduce the effects of heat stress on decreased milk production. Using minimum, mean and maximum ambient temperatures, the upper critical temperatures for milk production are 21, 27 and 32 degrees C, respectively. Using the temperature-humidity index as the thermal environment indicator, the critical values for minimum, mean and maximum THI are 64, 72 and 76, respectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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