Twenty multiparous Chinese Holstein dairy cows calving in hot summer (S group), were compared with 20 similar control cows calving in cool autumn (C group). Diets were the same for both groups; prepartum diets had relatively low energy density. Average temperature–humidity index was 76.5 and 53.0 in summer and autumn, respectively. S group cows had significantly higher rectal temperatures (39.6 vs. 39.0 °C) and respiration rates (79.0 vs. 31.3 breaths/min) than C group, and consumed less feed (prepartum 8.0 vs. 12.3 kg/day, postpartum 16.3 vs. 21.2 kg/day). Calculated energy balance (EB) was −7.98 vs. −5.15 Mcal/day for S group prepartum and postpartum, respectively. In contrast, EB was 1.36 vs. −2.03 Mcal/day for C group prepartum and postpartum, respectively. S group produced significantly less milk than C group by 15.4 % (5.2 kg/day) and 26.8 % (10.2 kg/d) for milk yield and energy-corrected milk, respectively. Percentages of milk fat (3.28 vs. 4.29 %), protein (3.08 vs. 3.33 %), and solids-not-fat (8.46 vs. 8.78 %) were significantly lower for S group. Milk urea nitrogen (19.54 vs. 13.31 mg/dL) was significantly higher in S group. Significantly lower feed efficiency was observed in S group (1.56 vs. 1.66). During the entire transition period, S group had significantly lower circulating glucose levels. S group had significantly higher levels of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) prepartum, but after 14 days in milk, NEFA was significantly lower. We conclude that increasing dietary energy density during transition period (especially prepartum) is necessary to minimize adverse effects of hot season.
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This work was supported by the earmarked fund for National Dairy Industry and Technology System (CARS-37). The authors acknowledge Runmin Dairy Farm for providing the experimental conditions and experimental animals. The authors are also grateful to Dr. Shawn S. Donkin (Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN) for his useful comments.
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Su, H., Wang, Y., Zhang, Q. et al. Responses of energy balance, physiology, and production for transition dairy cows fed with a low-energy prepartum diet during hot season. Trop Anim Health Prod 45, 1495–1503 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-013-0388-1
- Dairy cow
- Hot season
- Energy balance
- Milk production