Thermoregulatory and behaviour responses of dairy heifers raised on a silvopastoral system in a subtropical climate

Frederico Márcio C. Vieira , Matheus Deniz , Edgar S. Vismara , Piotr Herbut , Jaqueline A. Pilatti , Maurício Zotti Sponchiado , Barbara de Oliveira Puretz


In this study, we investigated the influence of a silvopastoral system on the thermal environment, behaviour and thermoregulation of dairy heifers in a subtropical climate. The experiment was conducted on a dairy farm in Southwest Paraná, Brazil, during the summer of 2014. Crossbred Holstein × Jersey dairy heifers (n = 10) were used in a split-plot design. The fixed effects in this study include time of day (9:00–10:00, 13:00–14:00, and 17:00–18:00 h) under silvopastoral or open pastures conditions, which were the main-plot and split-plot factors, respectively. To assess the environmental conditions in both systems, air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed were recorded. In addition, the temperature-humidity index was calculated based on the microclimate measurements. Respiratory rate and hair coat surface temperature of heifers were measured in both groups during time of day (30 days). Diurnal behaviour using focal observations with 0/1 sampling was observed. Data were analysed using Bayesian inference with a mixed effects model. The air temperature was higher (P<0.05) in open pasture conditions than the silvopasture system. Temperature-humidity index values for the silvopasture system were lower than open pasture during the hottest hours of the day. Regarding thermoregulation responses, there was an interaction between time of day and pasture environment (P<0.05). Heifers showed lower respiratory rates and hair coat surface temperature values (P<0.05) when access to shade was provided, mainly during the hottest periods in the afternoon. In addition, there was also an interaction between rumination and water intake (P<0.05), which indicates a higher rumination frequency for animals in the silvopasture system during the hottest period, as well as a higher water intake frequency for heifers in open pasture during midday. These findings imply that the arrangement of trees in a silvopasture system provides better thermal comfort conditions for dairy heifers raised in a subtropical climate.
Author Frederico Márcio C. Vieira - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Frederico Márcio C. Vieira,,
, Matheus Deniz - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Matheus Deniz,,
, Edgar S. Vismara - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Edgar S. Vismara,,
, Piotr Herbut (FoEEaLS / DoRC)
Piotr Herbut,,
- Department of Rural Construction
, Jaqueline A. Pilatti - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Jaqueline A. Pilatti,,
, Maurício Zotti Sponchiado - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Maurício Zotti Sponchiado,,
, Barbara de Oliveira Puretz - Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR)
Barbara de Oliveira Puretz,,
Journal seriesAnnals of Animal Science, ISSN 1642-3402, e-ISSN 2300-8733, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.7
Keywords in Polish animal welfare, biometeorology, dairy cow, shading, thermal comfort
ASJC Classification3403 Food Animals; 3404 Small Animals; 1103 Animal Science and Zoology
Languageen angielski
LicenseJournal (articles only); author's original; Uznanie Autorstwa - Użycie Niekomercyjne - Bez utworów zależnych (CC-BY-NC-ND); after publication
Thermoregulatory and behaviour responses of dairy heifers raised on a silvopastoral system in a subtropical climate of 28-05-2020
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Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.869; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 1.515 (2) - 2018=1.246 (5)
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