International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 63, Issue 11, pp 1487–1496 | Cite as

Physiological responses and thermal equilibrium of Jersey dairy cows in tropical environment

  • Sheila Tavares NascimentoEmail author
  • Alex Sandro Campos Maia
  • Vinícius de França Carvalho Fonsêca
  • Carolina Cardoso Nagib Nascimento
  • Marcos Davi de Carvalho
  • Maria da Graça Pinheiro
Special Issue: Brazilian Congress - Jaboticabal 2017


Long-term assessments of thermal responses of housed Jersey cows raised in tropical conditions were performed to investigate the effect of climate environment on their physiological performance and thermal equilibrium. Twelve Jersey dairy cows with 326.28 ± 30 kg of body weight, 17.66 ± 1.8 of milk yield, and 165.5 ± 6.8 of days in milking were assigned in two 12 × 12 Latin square designs. Air temperature, relative humidity, partial vapor pressure, direct and diffuse short-wave solar radiation and black globe temperature under the shade, and direct sunlight were recorded. Physiological responses as respiratory rate (RR, breaths min−1), ventilation (VE, L s−1), proportion (%) of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), saturation pressure (PS{TEXH}), and air temperature (TEXH, °C) of the exhaled air were assessed protected from solar radiation and rain. Rectal temperature (TR, °C), skin temperature (TEP, °C), and hair coat surface temperature (TS, °C) were also recorded. The thermal equilibrium was determined from biophysical equations according to the principles of the energy conservation law in a control volume. Exploratory and confirmatory analyses were performed from principal components and by the least square method, respectively. The cows were evaluated under range of ambient air temperature from 26 to 35 °C, relative humidity from 27 to 89%, and short-wave radiation from 0 to 729 W m−2. Exploratory and confirmatory analyses demonstrated that a similar level of nocturnal and diurnal air temperatures evoked distinct (P < 0.05) responses for rectal (TR, °C) and skin (TEP, °C) temperatures, ventilation (VE, L s−1), tidal volume (TV, L breaths−1), and oxygen consumption (∆O2, %) and carbon dioxide output (∆CO2, %), clearly revealing an endogenous rhythm dependence. In conclusion, these findings clarify how the circadian rhythmicity of the thermal environment and animal’s biological clock dictate dynamics of heat generated by metabolism, dissipated to the environment and physiological parameters of the housed Jersey cows raised in tropical condition; therefore, it is fundamental to help us to understand how the Jersey dairy cows under tropics are affected by the climatic conditions, leading to better ways of the environmental management.


Circadian cycle Body temperature Dairy cattle Thermoregulation Tropical climate 



We would like to show our gratitude to the Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios – APTA of Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil, for sharing their animals and the structure so that it was possible to carry out the research.

Funding information

This study was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), process numbers 2011/17388-6 and 2014/09639-7.


  1. Aschoff J (1981) Thermal conductance in mammals and birds: its dependence on body size and circadian phase. Comp Biochem Physiol 69:611–619CrossRefGoogle 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 68:1488–1495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berman A (2011) Invited review: are adaptations present to support dairy cattle productivity in warm climates? J Dairy Sci 94:2147–2158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camerro LZ, Maia ASC, Neto MC, Costa CCM, Castro PA (2016) Thermal equilibrium responses in Guzerat cattle raised under tropical conditions. J Therm Biol 60:213–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. da Silva RG (1999) Estimativa do balanço térmico por radiação em vacas Holandesas expostas ao sol e à sombra em ambiente tropical. Revista Bras Zootec 28(6):1403–1411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. da Silva RG (2000) Um modelo para a determinação do equilíbrio térmico de bovinos em ambientes tropicais. Revista Bras Zootec 29(4):1244–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Da Silva RG, Guilhermino MM, Morais DAEF (2010) Thermal radiation absorbed by dairy cows in pasture. Int J Biometeorol 54:5–11. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Da Silva RG, La Scala JRN, Lima-Filho AE, Catharin MC (2002) Respiratory heat loss in the sheep: a comprehensive model. Int J Biometeorol, Berlin 46:136–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Da Silva RG, La Scala N, Tonhati H (2003) Radiative properties of the skin and hair coat of cattle and other animals. Trans ASABE 46(3):913–918Google Scholar
  10. Da Silva RG, Maia ASC (2013) Principles of animal biometeorology. Springer, New York (Ed. 1)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Da Silva RG, Maia ASC, Costa LLM, Queiroz JPAF.(2012) Latent heat loss of dairy cows in an equatorial semi-arid environment. Int J Biometeorol (Print) , 56: 927–932Google Scholar
  12. De Melo Costa CC, Maia ASC, Nascimento ST, Nascimento CCN, Fonsêca VFN, Chiquitelli Neto M (2017) Thermal balance of Nellore cattle. Int J Biometeorol 74:317–324. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. da Silva RG, Maia ASC, de Macedo Costa LL, de Queiroz JPAF (2012) Latent heat loss of dairy cows in an equatorial semi-arid environment. Int J Biometeorol 56(5):927–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Melo Costa CC, Maia ASC, Nascimento ST, Nascimento CCN, Fonsêca VFN, Chiquitelli Neto M (2018a) Thermal balance of Nellore cattle. Int J Biometeorol 74:317–324. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Melo Costa CC, Maia ASC, Brown-Brand M; Chiquitelli Neto M, Fonsêca VFN (2018) Thermal equilibrium of Nellore cattle in tropical conditions: an investigation of circadian pattern Int. J Biometeorol:
  16. Gebremedhin KG, Cramer CO, Porter WP (1981) Predictions and measurements of heat production and food and water requirements of Holstein calves in different environments. Trans of ASAE 24(3):0715–0720. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hill JO, Wyatt HR, Peters JC (2012) Energy balance and obesity. Circulation 126:126–132. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keren EN, Olson BE (2006) Thermal balance of cattle grazing winter range: model application. J Anim Sci 84(5):1238–1247. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kibler HH (1960) Oxygen consumption in cattle in relation to rate of increase in environmental temperature. Nature 186:972–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kibler HH, Brody S (1954) Influence of diurnal temperature cycles on heat production and cardiorespiratory activities in Holstein and Jersey cows. Research bulletin 601, University of Missouri College of Agriculture Agricultural Experiment Station, FebruaryGoogle Scholar
  21. Littell R C, Freund R J (1991) Spector, P. C. SAS® System for linear models, Third Edition, Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc., 329pGoogle Scholar
  22. Maia ASC, da Silva RG, Bertipaglia ECA (2003) Características do pelame de vacas Holandesas em ambiente tropical: um estudo genético e adaptativo. Revista Bras Zootec 32(4):843–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maia ASC, da Silva RG, Loureiro CMB (2005a) Sensible and latent heat loss from the body surface of Holstein cows in a tropical environment. Int J Biometeorol 50:17–22. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maia ASC, da Silva RG, Loureiro CMB (2005b) Respiratory heat loss of Holstein cows in a tropical environment. Int J Biometeorol 49:332–336. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maia ASC, da Silva RG, Nascimento ST, Nascimento CCN, Pedroza HP, Domingos HGT (2014) Thermoregulatory responses of goats in hot environments. Int J Biometeorol 59:1025–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maia ASC, Nascimento ST, Nascimento CCN, Gebremedhin KG (2016) Thermal equilibrium of goats. J Therm Biol 58:43–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maloney SK, Meyer LR, Blache D, Fuller A (2013) Energy intake and the circadian rhythm of core body temperature in sheep. Physiol Rep 1:01–09CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ostojić-Andrić D, Petrović MM, Pantelić V, Petrović VC, Nikśić D, Lazarević M, Marinković M (2017) Production performance of Holstein Friesan cattle under breeding-selection program in Central Serbia. Proceedings of Scientific Conference with International Participation “Animal Science - Challenges and Innovations”, Sofia, BulgariaGoogle Scholar
  29. Santos SGCG, Saraiva EP, Pimenta Filho EC, Gonzaga Neto S, Fonsêca VFC, Pinheiro A d C, Almeida MEV, de Amorim MLCM (2017) The use of simple physiological and environmental measures to estimate the latent heat transfer in crossbred Holstein cows. Int J Biometeorol 61(2):217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Silva RG (2008). Biofísica ambiental – os animais e seu ambiente. FUNEP, Jaboticabal, SP, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  31. Silva RG, Arantes-Neto JG, Holtz Filho SV (1988) Genetic aspects of the variation of the sweating rate and coat characteristics of Jersey cattle. Braz J Genet (11):335–347Google Scholar
  32. Silva RG, Maia ASC (2011) Evaporative cooling and cutaneous surface temperature of Holstein cows in tropical conditions. R Bras Zootec 40:1143–1147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Todini L (2007) Thyroid hormones in small ruminants: effects of endogenous, environmental and nutritional factors. Animal 1(7):997–1008. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Usman T, Qureshi MS, Yu Y, Wang Y (2013) Influence of various environmental factors on dairy production and adaptability of Holstein cattle maintained under tropical and subtropical conditions. Adv Environ Biol 7(2):366–372Google Scholar
  35. Vilela D, Resende JCD, Leite JB, Alves E (2017) A evolução do leite no Brasil em cinco décadas. Revista de Política Agrícola, v. 26, n. 1, p 5–24Google Scholar
  36. Williams R, Scholtz MM, Neser FWC (2016) Geographical influence of heat stress on milk production of Holstein dairy cattle on pasture in South Africa under current and future climatic conditions. South African Journal of Animal Science 46(4):441CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Tavares Nascimento
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alex Sandro Campos Maia
    • 2
  • Vinícius de França Carvalho Fonsêca
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carolina Cardoso Nagib Nascimento
    • 2
  • Marcos Davi de Carvalho
    • 4
  • Maria da Graça Pinheiro
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary ScienceUniversity of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Innovation Group of Biometeorology, Behavior and Animal Welfare (INOBIO-MANERA), Biometorology LaboratorySao Paulo State UniversityJaboticabalBrazil
  3. 3.Brain Function Research Group, School of PhysiologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  4. 4.Granja PiaraPatos de MinasBrazil
  5. 5.Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos AgronegóciosRibeirão PretoBrazil

Personalised recommendations