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J Anim Sci. 1996 Feb;74(2):295-303.

Heat tolerance in two tropically adapted Bos taurus breeds, Senepol and Romosinuano, compared with Brahman, Angus, and Hereford cattle in Florida.

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  • 1Subtropical Agricultural Research Station, ARS, USDA, Brooksville, FL 34601, USA.


Two trials were conducted with heifers to determine heat tolerance among temperate Bos taurus (Angus, Hereford), Bos indicus (Brahman), tropical Bos taurus (Senepol, Romosinuano), and the reciprocal crosses of Hereford and Senepol. Differences among breeds in temperament score, circulating concentrations of cortisol, and blood packed cell volume were also investigated. Trial 1 used 43 Angus, 28 Brahman, 12 Hereford, 23 Romosinuano, 16 Senepol, 5 Hereford x Senepol (H x S), and 5 Senepol x Hereford (S x H) heifers. Trial 2 used 36 Angus, 31 Brahman, 9 Hereford, 14 Senepol, 19 H x S, and 10 S x H heifers. On the hottest summer date in Trial 1, rectal temperature of Angus was greater (P < .001) than that of Brahman, Senepol, or Romosinuano. Rectal temperature and plasma cortisol were significantly less in Senepol than in Brahman, suggesting that the differences in rectal temperature between these breeds may be due to differences in stress response possibly related to differences in temperament. Reciprocal crosses of Hereford and Senepol had rectal temperatures nearly as low as that of Senepol and displayed substantial heterosis (-9.4%, P < .05) in log10 rectal temperature on the hottest summer date. On both the hottest and coolest dates in Trial 1, Angus heifers had significantly faster respiration rates than Brahman, Romosinuano, or Senepol heifers, and Brahman had significantly slower respiration rates than Romosinuano or Senepol. On the hottest summer date in Trial 2, rectal temperature in Angus heifers was greater (P < .001) than in Brahman or Senepol had rectal temperatures similar to that of Senepol, or heterosis for log10 rectal temperature was similar to that in Trial 1 (-9.8%, P < .05). Considering rank order among breeds, Brahman always had the slowest respiration rate and greatest packed cell volume. Brahman had significantly greater temperament scores and plasma cortisol concentrations than Angus or Senepol, except that plasma cortisol was not different between Brahman and Senepol on the hottest summer date. On this date, rectal temperature did not differ between Brahman and Senepol, which supports the hypothesis that there is a relationship between response to stress and rectal temperature that helps explain differences in rectal temperature between Brahman and Senepol. The results of these trials demonstrate heat tolerance of the Senepol and Romosinuano, two Bos taurus breeds. Furthermore, the results suggest a substantial level of dominance of the Senepol's ability to maintain constant body temperature in a hot environment as measured by rectal temperature in crosses with a non-adapted breed.

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