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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

The effect of high temperature and humidity on milk yield in Ankole and crossbred cows

Niyonzima, Yvan Bienvenu; Strandberg, Erling; Hirwa, Claire D'Andre; Manzi, Maximilian; Ntawubizi, Martin; Rydhmer, Lotta


Tropical regions are characterized by high temperature and humidity across the year. At high values of temperature humidity index (THI), there is a risk of heat stress leading to lower milk yield. The objective of this study was to describe the effect of season and the effect of maximum daily THI on milk yield of that day in purebred Ankole and Ankole-Friesian, Ankole-Jersey and Ankole-Sahiwal crosses in a tropical climate. In total, 53,730 records of daily milk yield from 183 cows in Rwanda were analyzed. The results showed that THI had a negative effect on daily milk yield above a threshold, but the effect was small (-0.11 kg milk/THI unit at most). Purebred Ankole cows had the lowest daily milk yield and the lowest threshold (THI mean 66), as compared to the crossbreds (THI mean 68-69). Ankole-Friesian had a steeper decline in daily milk yield above the threshold than Ankole. The crossbreds, especially Ankole-Friesian, had higher daily milk yield than purebred Ankole also at very high THI. The results indicate some differences between breed groups in the way of coping with a hot and humid climate and raise questions about dairy cows' adaptation to such a climate.


Heat stress; THI; Dairy cattle; Ankole; Crossbred; Milk production

Published in

Tropical Animal Health and Production
2022, Volume: 54, number: 2, article number: 85
Publisher: SPRINGER