Relationship of thermal status to productivity in heat-stressed dairy cows given recombinant bovine somatotropin

R. S. Settivari, J. N. Spain, M. R. Ellersieck, J. C. Byatt, R. J. Collier, D. E. Spiers

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    34 Scopus citations


    The responses of lactating Holstein cows to daily administration of bovine somatotropin (bST) were measured at thermoneutrality (Tn) and under both constant and cycled heat-stress conditions to determine the relationship between thermal status and bST-induced shifts in milk production. All tests included a 5-d acclimation period at Tn (18°C), followed by a 2-d increase in ambient temperature to 28.5°C. After d 3, ambient temperature was cycled between 28.5 (day) and 25.5°C (night) for 4 d. Daily injections with either 31 mg of bST or saline began on d 1 of the experiment. Milk production, feed intake, and respiratory rate (RR) were measured daily. Intraperitoneal, telemetric temperature transmitters were used for a continuous measure of core body temperature (Tcore). Blood samples were collected during each phase to evaluate the changes in serum chemistry in response to bST and heat stress. Following a 15-d recovery, cows were switched across injection treatments and the study was repeated. Milk production decreased by -18.4% below the initial yield at Tn by the end of 7 d of heat challenge. Although a reduction in milk production occurred during heat stress in both groups, milk production was higher in bST-treated cows compared with control cows during periods of constant and cyclic heat. Likewise, bST treatment during the entire period increased the milk-tofeed ratio over the control level by -11.3%. Plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 and serum nonesterified fatty acids accompanied the increased growth hormone level with bST treatment (-122.0 and 88.8%, respectively), whereas plasma urea nitrogen was reduced by -13.3% to reflect the shift to lipid metabolism. There was no difference in Tcore of the treatment and control groups at Tn. Both bST and control cows increased RR and Tcore above the Tn level by -94.8 and 2.9%, respectively, during constant heat, with a greater increase in Tcore of bST-treated compared with control cows (-0.6%). The increase in RR during heat stress preceded Tcore by 1 d for both groups. During cyclic heat, Tcore decreased by -0.4% compared with constant heat in both the control and bST-treated groups. Bovine somatotropin treatment increased milk production similarly during the Tn and heat-stress periods, -8.3% over the control; however, the bST-induced increase in milk-to-feed ratio was greatest during the continuous and cyclic heat-stress phases, -16.2%. This increase occurred together with the elevation in T core.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1265-1280
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of dairy science
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2007


    • Body temperature
    • Growth hormone
    • Heat
    • Milk production

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics


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