Identifying and Mitigating Heat Stress of Grazing Dairy Cattle Using Shade and Sprinklers
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
CommitteeKarisch, Brandi B.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 1 year
Embargo Lift Date2021-08-15
Animal welfare, reproduction, and milk production can be negatively affected when dairy cattle experience heat stress. Dairy cows in southern latitudes spend nearly 4 to 6 months in a state of heat stress. Animal health professionals and dairy producers use changes in physiological responses and behavioral patterns of cows as a tool for identifying poor health and welfare in periods of heat stress. The objectives of this study were to monitor the effects of heat stress on grazing dairy cows provided with shade or sprinklers by comparing various physiological indices of heat stress, and to, design and utilize a heat stress scoring system to evaluate heat stress severity on grazing dairy cows with access to shade and sprinklers. Finally, the results were used to predict the accuracy of the scoring system with machine learning methods. The findings from this study provide a new tool to assess heat stress in dairy cows.