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Anim Sci J. 2017 Mar;88(3):439-444. doi: 10.1111/asj.12669. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Effect of heat stress on age at first calving of Japanese Black cows in Okinawa.

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Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.


Calving records from birth certificates of cows were analyzed to investigate the effect of heat stress on age at first calving (AFC) of Japanese Black cows. The data set covered 20 years (1990-2009) of calving records. Total number of records was 9279. Daily weather information from weather stations in the vicinity of the farms was used. Temperature-humidity index (THI) fitted to a linear model covered 30 days pre-insemination to 61 days post-insemination. Statistical analysis was conducted with procedures of SAS/STAT. Preliminary analysis showed that THI of the lowest temperature and humidity was most conducive to AFC. Covariance analysis, including main effect of sire, farm and year of insemination and covariates of THI on days showed that regression coefficients of THI on day -7, day -2 and day +31 were statistically significant. The estimated piecewise regression line showed different responses of AFC to THI on days: roof-shasped downward trend on day -7, hockey-stick shaped upward trend on day -2 and day +31. The difference among the estimated regression lines may be caused by direct and indirect factors on reproduction: indirect effect of reduced feed intake, failure of conception at previous insemination, direct effect of heat stress on oocyte and embryo development.


Japanese Black cow; age at first calving; field record; heat stress; piecewise regression

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