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Short communication: The effect of temperature-humidity index on milk yield and milking frequency of dairy cows in pasture-based automatic milking systems

Wildridge, Ashleigh M., Thomson, Peter C., Garcia, Sergio C., John, Alex J., Jongman, Ellen C., Clark, Cameron E.F., Kerrisk, Kendra L.
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.5 pp. 4479-4482
cooling, dairy cows, farms, heat stress, infrastructure, milk yield, milking frequency, milking machines, summer, weather, Australia
Hot weather is known to negatively affect cow performance primarily through reduced feed intake and milk yield. However, little information is available on how it affects cow milk yield and milking frequency in automatic milking systems (AMS). Milking data were collected from 6 pasture-based AMS farms in Australia to assess the effect of temperature-humidity index (THI) on milk yield and milking frequency. Daily measures of average milk yield per cow and average milking frequency per cow during December to February (Australian summer) were assessed for associations with maximum, minimum, and average THI from d 0, −1, −2, and −3 in relation to the milking data. Average daily milk yield per cow was negatively associated with an increasing maximum, minimum, and average THI (−0.11, −0.08, and −0.15 kg/THI unit increase, respectively) on the collection day and up to 3 d prior. The average daily milking frequency was negatively associated with maximum THI on 1 d (−0.003/THI unit increase) and 2 d (−0.003/THI unit increase) before collection. Our results show that high THI conditions were negatively associated with milking frequency and milk yield in a pasture-based AMS and that research into management and infrastructure (cow cooling) in these systems is warranted to reduce production losses.