Effects of low Fluctuating Temperatures on Farm Animals.: III. Influence of Ambient Air Temperature on Feed Intake of Lactating Holstein-Friesian Cows

MacDonald, M.A.; Bell, J.M.

Canadian Journal of Animal Science 38(2): 148-159


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-3984
DOI: 10.4141/cjas58-022
Accession: 068492856

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This report presents effects of low temperatures on the feed consumption and efficiency of milk production of six mature, lactating, Holstein-Friesian cows that were confined in stanchions for three fortnightly experimental periods during which ambient temperatures measured in degree-hours per day (d-h/day) ranged from 110 to 1152 and daily minimum ambient air temperature (DMAAT) varied from 0° to 38°F. Applying results obtained, it was calculated that as temperatures decreased, i. e., d-h/day increased from 100 to 1200 and Dmaat decreased from 40° to 0°F, average daily intakes of total dry matter, hay, and gross and digestible Calories increased approximately 6.4 lb., 5.3 lb., 13 Therms and 9 Therms, respectively. Each of these increases was statistically significant at the 1 per cent level. Reductions in temperature also decreased gross and net caloric efficiencies of milk production approximately 10 and 8.5 per cent, respectively. These decreases were significant at the 2 per cent level. No correlation was evident between crude protein utilization and temperature. Results indicated that thermal stress was not overcome adequately by supplementary hay intake alone and that appetite stimulation by low temperatures had a carry-over effect continuing at least 24 hours. For continued efficient milk production during winters where low ambient temperatures are prevalent these results suggest it is necessary to provide some form of building insulation, ambient heat and/or provide a high energy supplement to otherwise adequate production rations.