Precipitation and temperature effects on mortality and lactation parameters of dairy cattle in California

Carolyn Stull, L. L.Mc V. Messam, C. A. Collar, N. G. Peterson, A. R. Castillo, B. A. Reed, K. L. Andersen, W. R. VerBoort

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44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Data from 3 commercial rendering companies located in different regions of California were analyzed from September 2003 through August 2005 to examine the relationship of dairy calf and cow mortality to monthly average daily temperature and total monthly precipitation respectively. Yearly average mortality varied between rendering regions from 2.1 to 8.1% for mature cows. The relationship between cow and calf monthly mortality and monthly average daily temperature was U-shaped. Overall, months with average daily temperatures less than 14 and greater than 24°C showed substantial increases in both calf and cow mortality with calf mortality being more sensitive to changes in these temperature ranges than cow mortality. Temperature changes were reflected in a 2-fold difference between the minimum and maximum mortality in cows and calves. Precipitation showed a weak effect with calf mortality and no effect with cow mortality. Data from Dairy Herd Improvement Association were used from 112 California herds tested over a 24-mo period to examine the relationship of milk production and quality with monthly average daily temperature and monthly precipitation. Somatic cell count and percent milk fat were either weakly or not associated with monthly average daily temperature and total monthly precipitation. However, total monthly precipitation was negatively associated with test day milk per milking cow regardless of the dairy's geographical location. Housing-specific associations for test day milk per milking cow were greater for total monthly precipitation than monthly average daily temperature, with the strongest negative association seen for dairies that do not provide shelter for cows. This suggests that providing suitable housing for lactating dairy cattle may ameliorate the precipitation-associated decrease in test day milk per milking cow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4579-4591
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume91
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Dairy cow
  • Milk yield
  • Mortality
  • Precipitation and temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Stull, C., Messam, L. L. M. V., Collar, C. A., Peterson, N. G., Castillo, A. R., Reed, B. A., Andersen, K. L., & VerBoort, W. R. (2008). Precipitation and temperature effects on mortality and lactation parameters of dairy cattle in California. Journal of Dairy Science, 91(12), 4579-4591. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2008-1215