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Effects of evaporative cooling on the regulation of body water and milk production in crossbred Holstein cattle in a tropical environment

Chaiyabutr, N., Chanpongsang, S., Suadsong, S.
International journal of biometeorology 2008 v.52 no.7 pp. 575-585
Holstein, acetates, ambient temperature, barns, bioclimatology, blood volume, cattle, cooling, cooling systems, cortisol, crossbreds, dry matter intake, energy, glucose, insulin-like growth factor I, late lactation, mammary glands, milk composition, milk synthesis, milk yield, nutrients, relative humidity, respiratory rate, thyroxine, triacylglycerols, water metabolism
The aim of this study was to determine how evaporative cooling modifies body function with respect to water metabolism and other variables relevant to milk synthesis in crossbred cattle. The study was conducted on two groups of 0.875HF:0.125RS crossbred Holstein cattle (87.5%) housed in an open-sided barn with a tiled roof (non-cooled animals) and in a close-sided barn under an evaporative cooling system (cooled animals). The maximum ambient temperature and relative humidity for the non-cooled group were 33°C and 61%, with the corresponding values for the evaporatively cooled barn being 28°C and 84%, respectively. The temperature humidity index (THI) of under non-cooled conditions was higher (P < 0.05) than that in the cooled barn. Rectal temperatures and respiration rates of non-cooled animals were higher (P < 0.05) than those of cooled animals. Daily dry matter intake (DMI) of cooled animals was higher while water intakes were lower (P < 0.05) than those of non-cooled animals. The mean absolute values of plasma volume, blood volume, and extracellular fluid (ECF) of cooled animals were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of non-cooled animals throughout all stages of lactation. Milk yields of cooled animals were higher by 42%, 36% and 79% on average than those of non-cooled animals during early-, mid- and late-lactation, respectively. The decline in milk yields as lactation advances was markedly apparent in late-lactating non-cooled animals, while no significant changes in milk composition at different stages of lactation were observed in either group. Mean arterial plasma concentrations, arteriovenous concentration differences (A-V differences) and the extraction ratio across the mammary gland for acetate, glucose and triglyceride of cooled animals were not significantly different compared with values for non-cooled animals. No differences were seen in plasma hormonal levels for triiodotyronine (T₃) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), but plasma cortisol and thyroxine (T₄) levels tended to be lower in non-cooled animals. This study suggests that low cooling temperature accompanied by high humidity influences a galactopoietic effect, in part through increases in ECF, blood volume and plasma volume in association with an increase in DMI, which partitions the distribution of nutrients to the mammary gland for milk synthesis. Cooled animals were unable to maintain high milk yield as lactation advances even though a high level of body fluids was maintained during long-term cooled exposure. The decline in milk yield, coinciding with a decrease in net energy for lactation as lactation advances, could be attributed to a local change within the mammary gland.