International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 77–87 | Cite as

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

  • M. O. Igono
  • G. Bjotvedt
  • H. T. Sanford-Crane


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° C, between 21 and 27° C, and more than 27° 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° 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° 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.

Key words

Environmental profile Heat stress Critical temperatures Milk production 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Armstrong DV, Wiersma F, Fuhrmann JJ, Tappan JM, Cramer SM (1985) Effects of evaporative cooling under a corral shade on reproduction and milk production. J Dairy Sci [Suppl] 16:7Google Scholar
  2. Berman A, Folman Y, Kaim M, Mamen M, Herz Z, Wolfenson D, Arieli A, Graber Y (1985) Upper critical temperatures and forced ventilation effects for high-yielding dairy cows in a subtropical climate. J Dairy Sci 68:1488–1495Google Scholar
  3. Brody S, Ragsdale AC, Yeck RG, Worstell D (1955) Milk production, feed and water consumption, and body weight of Jersey and Holstein cows in relation to several diurnal temperature rhythms. Mo Agric Expt Sta Res Bull 578Google Scholar
  4. Coppock CE (1983) Reduce heat stress in high producing dairy cows with feeding and nutrition management. In: Dairy science handbook. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, pp 315–324Google Scholar
  5. Huber JT, Higginbotham GE (1986) Feeding systems for heat stress in lactating cows. Anim Hlth Nutr 41:14–15Google Scholar
  6. Igono MO, Johnson HD, Steevens BJ, Krause GF, Shanklin MD (1987) Physiologic, productive, and economic benefits of shade, spray, and fan systems versus shade for Holstein cows during summer heat. J Dairy Sci 70:1069–1079Google Scholar
  7. Ingraham RH, Stanley RW, Wagner WC (1979) Seasonal effects of tropical climate on shaded and nonshaded cows as measured by rectal temperature, and adrenal cortex hormones; thyroid hormone and milk production. Am J Vet Res 40:1792–1797Google Scholar
  8. Johnson HD (1987) Bioclimate effects on growth, reproduction and milk production. In: Johnson HD (ed) Bioclimatology and the adaptation of livestock. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 35–57Google Scholar
  9. Johnson HD, Ragsdale AC, Berry IL, Shanklin MD (1962) Effects of various temperature-humidity combinations on milk production of Holstein cattle. Mo Agric Exp Sta Res Bull 791Google Scholar
  10. Kelly CF, Bond TE (1971) Bioclimatic factors and their measurements. In: A guide to environmental research in animals. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, p 77Google Scholar
  11. King VL, Denise SK, Armstrong DV, Torabi M, Wiersma F (1988) Effects of a hot climate on the performance of first lactation Holstein cows grouped by coat color. J Dairy Sci 71:1093–1096Google Scholar
  12. Maust LE, McDowell RE, Hooven NW (1972) Effects of summer weather on performance of Holstein cows in three stages of lactation. J Dairy Sci 55:1133–1139Google Scholar
  13. Monty DE Jr, Garbareno JL (1978) Behavioral and physiologic responses of Holstein-Friesian cows to high environmental temperatures and artificial cooling in Arizona. Am J Vet Res 39:877–882Google Scholar
  14. Monty DE Jr, Wolff LK (1974) Summer heat stress and reduced fertility in Holstein-Friesian cows in Arizona. Am J Vet Res 35:1495–1500Google Scholar
  15. Rodriquez LA, McKonnen G, Wilcox CJ, Martin FG, Krienke WA (1985) Effects of relative humidity, maximum and minimum temperature, pregnancy, and stage of lactation on milk composition and yield. J Dairy Sci 68:973–978Google Scholar
  16. Schmidli RJ (1986) The climate of Phoenix. NOAA Technical Bulletin Memorandum NWS WR-117Google Scholar
  17. Scott IM, Johnson HD, Hahn GL (1983) Effect of programmed diurnal temperature cycles based on plasma thyroxine level, body temperature, and feed intake of Holstein dairy cows. Int J Biometeorol 27:47–62Google Scholar
  18. Sharma AK, Rodriquez LA, Wilcox CJ, Collier RJ, Bachman KC, Martin FG (1988) Interactions of climatic factors affecting milk yield and composition. J Dairy Sci 71:819–825Google Scholar
  19. Shishido H, Yamagishi N, Mitsuhashi T (1983) Effect of diurnal temperature cycle on milk performance of Holstein cows. Proc 5th Wld Conf Anim Prod 2:785–786Google Scholar
  20. Stott GH, Wiersma F (1973) Climatic thermal stress, a cause of hormonal depression and low fertility in the bovine. Int J Biometeorol 17:115–122Google Scholar
  21. Stott GH, Wiersma F (1976) Short term thermal relief for improved fertility in dairy cattle during hot weather. Int J Biometeorol 20:344–350Google Scholar
  22. Vaught LW, Monty DE Jr, Foote WC (1977) Effect of summer heat stress on serum luteinizing hormone and progesterone values in Holstein-Friesian cows. Am J Vet Res 138:1027–1030Google Scholar
  23. Wiersma F, Armstrong DV, Welchert WT, Lough OG (1984) Housing systems for dairy production under warm weather conditions. Wld Anim Rev 50:16–23Google Scholar
  24. Wise ME, Armstrong DV, Huber JT, Hunter R, Wiersma F (1988) Hormonal alterations in the lactating dairy cows in response to thermal stress. J Dairy Sci 71:2480–2485Google Scholar
  25. Wolff LK, Monty DE Jr (1974) Physiologic response to intense summer heat and its effects on estrous cycle on nonlactating and lactating Holstein-Friesian cows in Arizona. Am J Vet Res 35:187–192Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of Biometeorology 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. O. Igono
    • 1
  • G. Bjotvedt
    • 1
  • H. T. Sanford-Crane
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Biosciences, Laboratory Animal Care ProgramArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Digital Equipment CorporationTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations