Milk yield and hair coat characteristics of Holstein cows in a hot environment
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This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of hair coat characteristics on thermophysiological variables and body surface temperatures (BST), measured with infrared thermography, as well as milk yield of Holstein cows in a hot environment. Physiological and milk yield variables were assessed using 103 pluriparous Holstein cows. Also, hair angle (HA), density of hair coat (D), diameter of hair (HD), hair length (HL), weight of hair coat (Wt), and coat thickness (CT) were recorded. Biplot analysis (principal components analysis) revealed that HL was closely associated with Wt, CT, and HD and all these variables had a positive association with rectal temperature. Both CT and HL were found to be negatively associated with shoulder and neck temperature; tympanic temperature showed no association with BTS. Cows with short hair coat (length < 17 mm) did not produce more milk in 305 days than cows with longer hair coat (9673 ± 1604 vs. 9277 ± 817; P = 0.12). On the other hand, milk fat percentage at the middle of lactation was higher (P < 0.01) in cows with longer hair relative to cows with coat hair < 17 mm (3.71 vs. 3.35%, respectively). In conclusion, physical characteristics of the coat of Holstein cows were not associated with the 305-day milk yield but cows with longer hair produced a greater milk fat percentage at the middle of lactation compared to cows with short hair.
KeywordsHair length Hair diameter Hair weight Body surface temperature Rectal temperature
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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