A meta-analysis of heat stress in dairy cattle: The increase in temperature humidity index affects both milk yield and some physiological parameters
In this study, the relationships of temperature humidity index (THI) with milk yield and some physiological responses in dairy cattle were investigated. Our goal in the meta-analysis was to find the parameter(s) primarily affected under heat stress. A total of 16 studies with the temperature humidity index value higher than 72, which is an important factor in determining the effect of heat stress, were included in the meta-analysis. The variables of interest in the meta-analysis included: milk yield (kg/day), respiratory rate (breaths/min), rectal temperature (°C). In addition to the meta-analysis, principal component analysis (PCA) was also performed. In the meta-analysis, high variation or heterogeneity (I2 > 99%) was determined between the results of the studies. This may depend on many factors (climate, region, number of samples and management etc.). Heterogeneity is desirable in the meta-analysis, because it provides accurate and reliable interpretations of the variances of parameters. Due to high heterogeneity, the results of the studies were combined according to the mixed model. According to the mixed model and PCA results, a linear relationship was determined between the temperature humidity index and these physiological parameters. According to the meta-analysis, at THI > 72, the mean effect size of milk yield was 50%, and the effect sizes of respiratory rate and rectal temperature were approximately 65% and 38%. All three parameters have a significant effect under heat stress (P < 0.000 1). As a result, there is a linear relationship between temperature humidity index, milk yield and physiological parameters. According to the other characteristics, the respiratory rate was determined as the primary response parameter in parallel with the increase in temperature humidity index.
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