Effects of temperature–humidity index on health and growth performance in Japanese black calves
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We evaluated the relationship between the temperature–humidity index (THI) and health and growth performance in Japanese black calves in Japan. Data were collected from medical records of 19,313 Japanese black calves aged up to 3 months for correlation analysis with THI from July 2008 to June 2011. Data were also collected on the market weights of 57,144 Japanese black calves, and we calculated the body weight gain (BWG) of each calf based on body weight and age in days at the calf market. Analysis for the relationship between disease incidence and THI demonstrated a negative correlation (r = −0.54, p < 0.01). In addition, the mean disease incidence at THI of ≤50 was significantly higher than that at THI of ≥71. Analysis for the relationship between growth performance in calves and THI revealed that a lower THI during the month of birth was associated with a lower BWG at the calf market and that BWG with THI of ≤70 was significantly lower than that with THI of ≥71 (p < 0.05). In contrast, a higher mean THI during the third month after birth was associated with a lower BWG at the calf market, and BWG with THI of >75 was significantly lower than that with THI of ≤50 or THI ranging from 56 to 60 (p < 0.05). These results indicate that Japanese black calves are susceptible to a cold environment immediately after birth, whereas they are susceptible to a heat environment 3 months after birth.
KeywordsTemperature–humidity index Calf Heat stress Cold stress
We are grateful to the Miyazaki Agricultural Mutual Relief Association and Miyakonojo Livestock Agriculture Cooperative Association for providing data.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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