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Short Communication: The effects of heat stress on milk production and the grazing behavior of dairy Holstein cows milked by an automatic milking system
Journal of Animal Science  (IF3.338),  Pub Date : 2022-06-23, DOI: 10.1093/jas/skac225
Jéssica T Morales-Piñeyrúa, Juan P Damián, Georgget Banchero, Aline C Sant`Anna

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the productive performance and grazing behavior of 25 primiparous and 44 multiparous Holstein cows in a pasture-based automatic milking system (AMS) while experiencing heat stress (defined as a temperature-humidity index-THI ≥ 68). Productive traits were analyzed according to the THI from days 0, -1, -2, and -3 in relation to the milking day, and grazing behaviors (expressed as the % of daily observation time) were related to the average THI only on the day of observation. Milk yield was not associated with the THI on day 0, but a significant linear relationship was found with the THI on the three previous days, decreasing approximately 0.18 kg (primiparous) and 0.40 kg (multiparous) per THI unit increment. In contrast, for multiparous cows only, the milking frequency was positively associated with the THI on the day of evaluation but not on the previous days, increasing 0.01 milking/THI unit increments. Additionally, for each unit of THI increment, cows spent 0.14% more time standing, whereas they exhibited a decrease in grazing, lying, and ruminating behaviors time by 0.30%, 0.04%, and 0.70%, respectively, for both parities. In conclusion, milk loss was related to heat stress conditions from the previous days, but not milking frequency, which increased with the THI of the same milking day. Lower grazing, lying, and ruminating activities and greater standing behavior were observed due to heat stress.