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An overview of heat stress relief with global warming in perspective

Abstract

Global warming seems more probable, whether as gradual warming or increased frequency of warmer episodes. The productivity of cattle in temperate countries will decline unless counteracting steps are adopted. The probability of pre-emptive breeding for maintaining temperate breed performance coupled with heat stress tolerance is too low to be adopted for counteracting warming. The expected warming will mostly involve temperature increases. These will indirectly affect radiant heat gain in animals owing to reduced radiant heat dissipation from the body by convective heat loss, which results in an increased sensitivity to incoming radiant heat at higher air temperatures. These necessitate an emphasis on increasing convective heat loss by structure design and forced air flow by fans. Convective heat loss diminishes with increasing air temperatures. Evaporative heat loss remains the alternative. Evaporative cooling of the ambient requires partial enclosing of the space surrounding the animals and is limited by the humidity in ambient air. An alternative was developed of coupling forced ventilation with wetting of animal surface. The exchange of ambient air flowing on animal surface makes the evaporation practically independent of air humidity and the loss of heat from animal surface practically independent of the surface to air temperature gradient. The coupling of forced ventilation with wetting combination may be attained in various parts of the dairy farm, the holding area of the milking parlour, the feeding trip and the resting area. Each of these requires differing structural and technological adaptations. Climate and farming systems vary between locations which require specific solutions.

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Berman, A. An overview of heat stress relief with global warming in perspective. Int J Biometeorol 63, 493–498 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-019-01680-7

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Keywords

  • Dairy cattle
  • Gradual warming
  • Episodic heat
  • Stress alleviation