Skip to main content


Log in

Effects of ambient air temperature, humidity, and wind speed on seminal traits in Braford and Nellore bulls at the Brazilian Pantanal

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
International Journal of Biometeorology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The aim of this study was to evaluate the bioclimatic thermal stress assessed by Equivalent Temperature Index (ETI) and Temperature Humidity Index (THI) on Braford and Nellore bulls sperm quality during the reproductive seasons at the tropical region in the Brazilian Pantanal. We used 20 bulls aged approximately 24 months at the beginning of the study. Five ejaculates per animal were collected using an electroejaculator. Temperature, air humidity, and wind speed data were collected every hour from the automatic weather station at the National Institute of Meteorology. Infrared thermography images data were collected to assess the testicular temperature gradient in each animal. Data were analyzed with ANOVA using MIXED procedure of SAS and means were compared using Tukey’s HSD test. The THI and ETI at 12 days (epididymal transit) were higher in January (89.7 and 28.5, respectively) and February (90.0 and 29.0, respectively) compared to other months (P < 0.01). Total seminal defects differ only in Bradford bulls between the months of November and February. Nellore bulls had lower major defects (MaD) and total defects (TD) compared to Braford. Nellore bulls showed correlation between minor defects (MiD) and THI for 30 days (0.90) and 18 days (0.88; P < 0.05). Braford bulls showed correlation for MaD (0.89) in ETI for 12 days (P < 0.05). Infrared thermography showed no difference between animals. Reproductive response to environmental changes is a consequence of Nellore and Braford adaptation to climate stress conditions. Both THI and ETI environmental indexes can be used to evaluate the morphological changes in the seminal parameters in Nellore or Braford bulls; however, more experiments should be performed focusing on larger sample numbers and also in reproductive assessment during the consecutive years to assess fertility potential.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Baeta FC, Meador NF, Shanklin MD, Johnson HD (1987) Equivalent temperature index at temperatures above the thermoneutral for lactating dairy cows. In: Summer Meeting of American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Paper No. 874015, St Joseph, MI, pp 1–21.

  • Barth AD (2000) Bull breeding soundness evaluation manual, 2nd edn. The Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners, Saskatoon, p. 74

    Google Scholar 

  • Barth AD, Bowman PA (1994) The sequential appearance of sperm abnormalities after scrotal insulation or dexamethasone treatment in bulls. Can Vet J 35:93–102

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Berry DP, Evans RD, Parland SMC (2011) Evaluation of bull fertility in dairy and beef cattle using cow field data. Theriogenology 75:172–181. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.08.002

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Brito LFC, Silva AED, Barbosa RT, Kastelic JP (2004) Testicular thermoregulation in Bos indicus, crossbred and Bos taurus bulls: relationship with scrotal, testicular vascular cone and testicular morphology, and effects on semen quality and sperm production. Theriogenology 61:511–528. doi:10.1016/S0093-691X(03)00231-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brito LFC, Silva AED, Barbosa RT, Unanian MM, Kastelic JP (2003) Effects of scrotal insulation on sperm production, semen quality and testicular echotexture in Bos indicus and Bos indicus X Bos taurus bulls. Anim Reprod Sci 79:1–15. doi:10.1016/S0378-4320(03)00082-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burns BM, Fordyce G, Holroyd RG (2010) A review of factors that impact on the capacity of beef cattle females to conceive, maintain a pregnancy and wean a calf-implications for reproductive efficiency in Northern Australia. Anim Reprod Sci 122:1–22. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2010.04.010

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cassady RB, Myers RM, Legates JE (1953) The effect of exposure to high ambient temperature on spermatogenesis of the dairy bull. J Dairy Sci 36:14–20. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(53)91449-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheminau P (1994) Environment and animal reproduction. World Anim Rev 77:2–14

    Google Scholar 

  • De Rensis F, Scaramuzzi RJ (2003) Heat stress and seasonal effects on reproduction in the dairy cow—a review. Theriogenology 60:1139–1151. doi:10.1016/S0093-691X(03)00126-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fernandes CE, Dode MA, Pereira D, Silva AE (2008) Effects of scrotal insulation in Nellore bulls (Bos taurus indicus) on seminal quality and its relationship with in vitro fertilizing ability. Theriogenology 70:1560–1568. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.07.005

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fernandes HJ, Paulino MF, Martins RGR, Valadares SD, Torres RD, Paiva LM, Da Silva ATS (2004) Body composition of young bulls of three genetic groups in the growing and finishing phases. R Bras Zootec 33:1581–1590. doi:10.1590/S1516-35982004000600026

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fisch H, Andrews HF, Fisch KS, Golden R, Liberson G, Olsson CA (2003) The relationship of long term global temperature change and human fertility. Med Hypotheses 61:21–28. doi:10.1016/S0306-9877(03)00061-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • INMET - Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (2014) Normais Climatológicas. Available from: Updated 2014 Aug 16; Cited 2015 Feb 10.

  • Kastelic JP, Cook RB, Coulter GH, Wallins GL, Entz T (1996) Environmental factors affecting measurement of bovine scrotal surface temperature with infrared thermography. Anim Reprod Sci 41:153–159. doi:10.1016/0378-4320(95)01460-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kastelic JP, Cook RB, Pierson RA, Coulter GH (2001) Relationships among scrotal and testicular characteristics, sperm production, and seminal quality in 129 beef bulls. Can J Vet Res 65:111–115

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Koivisto MB, Costa MTA, Perri SHV, Vicente WRR (2009) The effect of season on semen characteristics and freezability in Bos indicus and Bos taurus bulls in the southeastern region of Brazil. Reprod Domest Anim 44:587–592. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0531.2008.01023.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • León H, Porras AA, Galina CS, Navarro-Fierro R (1991) Effect of the collection method on semen characteristics of zebu and European type cattle in the tropics. Theriogenology 36:349–355. doi:10.1016/0093-691X(91)90463-N

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mader TL, Johnson LJ, Gaughant JB (2010) A comprehensive index for assessing environmental stress in animals. J Anim Sci 88:2153–2165. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2586

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • McManus C, Louvandini H, Carneiro HC, Lima PRM, Neto JC (2011) Production indices for dual purpose cattle in Central Brazil. Rev Bras Zootec 40:1576–1586. doi:10.1590/S1516-35982011000700025

    Google Scholar 

  • Menegassi SRO, Barcellos JOJ, Dias EA, Koetz C Jr, Pereira GP, Peripolli V, McManus C, Canozzi MEA, Lopes FG (2015) Scrotal infrared digital thermography as a predictor of seasonal effects on sperm traits in Braford bulls. Int J Biometeorol 59:357–364. doi:10.1007/s00484-014-0847-z

  • Menegassi SRO, Pereira GR, Dias EA, Koetz C Jr, Lopes FG, Bremm C, McManus CP, Lopes RB, Rocha MK, Carvalho HR, Barcellos JOJ (2016) The uses of infrared thermography to evaluate the effects of climatic variables in bull’s reproduction. Int J Biometeorol. doi:10.1007/s00484-015-1013-y

  • Meyerhoeffer DC, Wettemann RP, Coleman SW, Wells ME (1985) Reproductive criteria of beef bulls during and after exposure to increased ambient temperature. J Anim Sci 60:352–357

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (1971) A guide to environmental research on animals. National Academy of Science, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • Nichi M, Bols PEJ, Zuge RM, Barnabe VH, Goovaerts IGF, Barnabe RC, Cortada CNM (2006) Seasonal variation in semen quality in Bos indicus and Bos taurus bulls raised under tropical conditions. Theriogenology 66:822–828. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2006.01.056

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Overton MW, Sischo WM, Temple GD, Moore DA (2002) Using time-lapse video photography to assess dairy cattle lying behavior in a free- stall barn. J Dairy Sci 85:2407–2413. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(02)74323-3

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Palmer CW, Brito LF, Arteaga AA, Söderquist L, Persson Y, Barth AD (2005) Comparison of electroejaculation and transrectal massage for semen collection in range and yearling feedlot beef bulls. Anim Reprod Sci 87:25–31. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2004.09.004

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pineda MH, Faulkner LC (1980) Biology of sex. In: McDonald LE (ed) Veterinary endocrinology and reproduction. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, pp. 208–234

    Google Scholar 

  • Polguj M, Wysiadecki G, Podgórski M, Szymański J, Olbrych K, Olewnik L, Topol M (2015) Morphological variations of intra-testicular arterial vasculature in bovine testis—a corrosion casting study. BMC Vet Res 11:263. doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0580-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rengan AK, Agarwal A, Van der Linde M, Plessis SS (2012) An investigation of excess residual cytoplasm in human spermatozoa and its distinction from the cytoplasmic droplet. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 10:92. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-10-92

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Silva RG, Maia ASC (2013) Principles of Animal Biometeorology, Biometeorology 2. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-5733-2-7. Dordrecht; New York, Springer, pp 261

  • Silva RG, Morais DAVF, Guilhermino MM (2007) Evaluation of stress indexes for dairy cows in tropical regions. R Bras Zootec 36:1192–1198. doi:10.1590/S1516-35982007000500028

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Statistical Analysis System (SAS). SAS/STAT user’s guide: statistics. v. 9.3. Cary, NC: Statistical Analysis System; 2011.

  • Wrobel K, Sinowatz F, Mademann R (1981) Intratubular topography in the bovine testis. Cell Tiss Res 217:289–310. doi:10.1007/BF00233582

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by The Brazilian Council of Scientific and Technological Development (Project CNPq/Universal No. 456724/2014-1) and The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel/CAPES, Brazil (Project CAPES/PNPD No. 2842/2010). The authors thank Fazenda Tres Marias, Pitangueira Group, located in Santo Antonio de Leverger, Rondonópolis/MT, Brazil for providing the animals and technical assistance for this study. We thank the Brazilian Hereford and Braford Association (ABHB) for providing financial help and assistance with the experiment.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gabriel Ribas Pereira.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Menegassi, S.R.O., Pereira, G.R., Bremm, C. et al. Effects of ambient air temperature, humidity, and wind speed on seminal traits in Braford and Nellore bulls at the Brazilian Pantanal. Int J Biometeorol 60, 1787–1794 (2016).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: