Season and temperature humidity index related changes of productive and health parameters in dairy cows and pigs

Nicola Lacetera


The work described herein was based on construction and query of four different large databases which included multiannual (5-7 years) meteorological, productive and health data from the field. Productive data were referred to dairy cows and included milk yield and composition (total bacterial count, fat and protein percentages) whereas health data were relative both to dairy cows (milk somatic cell counts and mortality data) and pigs (mortality data during transport and at lairage). The analysis pointed out significant seasonal variations of parameters under study. In synthesis, summer/hot season was associated with significant worsening of cows’ milk composition and with significant higher risk of death in pigs. The analysis also permitted to establish the themperature humidity index values above which a significant decline of performance and health of dairy cows or pigs has to expected. These results may help to predict the consequences of climate change in economically important sectors of the livestock industry, to identify and target adaptation options that are appropriate for specific contexts and that can contribute to environmental sustainability as well as to economic development.

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Authors: Nicola Lacetera, Andrea Vitali, Umberto Bernabucci, Alessandro Nardone

Affiliations: Department of Agriculture, Forests, Nature and Energy (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy

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