Browsing by Subject "HEAT-STRESS"

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  • Sarjokari, K.; Hovinen, M.; Seppä-Lassila, L.; Norring, M.; Hurme, T.; Peltoniemi, O.A.T.; Soveri, T.; Rajala-Schultz, P.J. (2018)
    ABSTRACT On-farm death (OFD) of a dairy cow is always a financial loss for a farmer, and potentially a welfare issue that has to be addressed within the dairy industry. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between OFD of dairy cows, housing, and herd management in freestall barns. To achieve the goal, we followed 10,837 cows calving in 2011 in 82 herds. Data were gathered with observations and a structured interview during farm visits and from a national dairy herd improvement database. The hazard of OFD was modeled with a shared frailty survival model, with SAS 9.3 PHREG procedure (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). The study population was 58% Ayrshire and 42% Holstein cows. The median herd size and mean milk yield in the study herds were 116 cows and 9,151 kg of milk per cow per year. The overall probability of OFD was 6.0%; 1.8% of the cows died unassisted and 4.2% were euthanized. Variation in OFD percentage between individual herds was large, from 0 to 16%, accounting for 0 to 58% of all removals in the herds. Keeping close-up dry cows in an own group was associated with higher hazard of OFD [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.37] compared with keeping them in the same pen with far-off dry cows. Higher hazard on OFD was observed when barns had only one kind of calving pens; single (HR = 2.09) or group pens (HR = 1.72), compared with having both of those types. The hazard of OFD was lower if the whole herd was housed in barns or pens that had only 1 type of feed barrier at the feed bunk, namely post-and-rail (HR = 0.51) or a type with barriers between the cow's heads (HR = 0.49), compared with having 2 types. Lower OFD hazard was observed with wider than 340 cm of walking alley next to the feeding table (HR = 0.75), and with housing a whole herd in pens with only 1 type of walking alley surface, specifically slatted (HR = 0.53) or solid (HR = 0.48), compared with having both types. The hazard of OFD was higher with stalls wider than 120 cm (HR = 1.38) compared with narrower stalls. The hazard of OFD was also associated with breed, parity, and calving season. This study identified many factors that contribute to the incidence of OFD of dairy cows. The solutions for reducing on-farm mortality include housing, management, and breeding choices that are most probably herd specific.
  • Hiitiö, Heidi; Vakkamäki, Johanna; Simojoki, Heli; Autio, Tiina; Junnila, Jouni; Pelkonen, Sinikka; Pyörälä, Satu (2017)
    Background: The dairy industry has undergone substantial structural changes as intensive farming has developed during recent decades. Mastitis continues to be the most common production disease of dairy cows. Nationwide surveys of mastitis prevalence are useful in monitoring udder health of dairy herds and to study the impact of structural changes on the dairy industry. This survey on bovine subclinical mastitis was the first based on cow composite milk somatic cell count (SCC) data from the Finnish national health monitoring and milk recording database. A cow with composite milk SCC = 200,000 cells/ml in at least one of the four test milkings during the year was considered to have subclinical mastitis and a cow with composite milk SCC = 200,000 cells/ml in three or in all four test milkings during the year to have chronic subclinical mastitis. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of subclinical mastitis and chronic subclinical mastitis in Finland in 1991, 2001 and 2010 and to investigate cow and herd factors associated with elevated SCC. Results: Prevalence of subclinical mastitis in Finland decreased over recent decades from 22.3% (1991) and 20.1% (2001) to 19.0% (2010). Prevalence of chronic subclinical mastitis was 20.4% in 1991, 15.5% in 2001 and 16.1% in 2010. The most significant cow and herd factors associated with subclinical mastitis or high milk SCC were increasing parity, Holstein breed, free- stalls with an automatic milking system and organic production. Milk SCC were highest from July to September. Main factors associated with chronic mastitis were increasing parity and Holstein breed. Conclusions: Prevalence of subclinical mastitis in Finland decreased over recent decades, the greatest change taking place during the first decade of the study. Prevalence of chronic subclinical mastitis significantly decreased from 1991. The most significant factors associated with both types of mastitis were increasing parity and Holstein breed, and for subclinical mastitis also free-stalls with automatic milking. National surveys on mastitis prevalence should be carried out at regular intervals to monitor udder health of dairy cows and to study the impact of the ongoing structural changes in the dairy industry to enable interventions related to udder health to be made when needed.
  • Ramakrishnan, Muthusamy; Satish, Lakkakula; Kalendar, Ruslan; Mathiyazhagan, Narayanan; Sabariswaran, Kandasamy; Sharma, Anket; Emamverdian, Abolghassem; Wei, Qiang; Zhou, Mingbing (2021)
    Plant development processes are regulated by epigenetic alterations that shape nuclear structure, gene expression, and phenotypic plasticity; these alterations can provide the plant with protection from environmental stresses. During plant growth and development, these processes play a significant role in regulating gene expression to remodel chromatin structure. These epigenetic alterations are mainly regulated by transposable elements (TEs) whose abundance in plant genomes results in their interaction with genomes. Thus, TEs are the main source of epigenetic changes and form a substantial part of the plant genome. Furthermore, TEs can be activated under stress conditions, and activated elements cause mutagenic effects and substantial genetic variability. This introduces novel gene functions and structural variation in the insertion sites and primarily contributes to epigenetic modifications. Altogether, these modifications indirectly or directly provide the ability to withstand environmental stresses. In recent years, many studies have shown that TE methylation plays a major role in the evolution of the plant genome through epigenetic process that regulate gene imprinting, thereby upholding genome stability. The induced genetic rearrangements and insertions of mobile genetic elements in regions of active euchromatin contribute to genome alteration, leading to genomic stress. These TE-mediated epigenetic modifications lead to phenotypic diversity, genetic variation, and environmental stress tolerance. Thus, TE methylation is essential for plant evolution and stress adaptation, and TEs hold a relevant military position in the plant genome. High-throughput techniques have greatly advanced the understanding of TE-mediated gene expression and its associations with genome methylation and suggest that controlled mobilization of TEs could be used for crop breeding. However, development application in this area has been limited, and an integrated view of TE function and subsequent processes is lacking. In this review, we explore the enormous diversity and likely functions of the TE repertoire in adaptive evolution and discuss some recent examples of how TEs impact gene expression in plant development and stress adaptation.
  • Baur, Julian; Jagusch, Dorian; Michalak, Piotr; Koppik, Mareike; Berger, David (2022)
    To mitigate the effects of climate change, it is important to understand species' responses to increasing temperatures. This has often been done by studying survival or activity at temperature extremes. Before such extremes are reached, however, effects on fertility may already be apparent. Sex differences in the thermal sensitivity of fertility (TSF) could impact species persistence under climate warming because female fertility is typically more limiting to population growth than male fertility. However, little is known about sex differences in TSF. Here we first demonstrate that the mating system can strongly influence TSF using the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. We exposed populations carrying artificially induced mutations to two generations of short-term experimental evolution under alternative mating systems, manipulating the opportunity for natural and sexual selection on the mutations. We then measured TSF in males and females subjected to juvenile or adult heat stress. Populations kept under natural and sexual selection had higher fitness, but similar TSF, compared to control populations kept under relaxed selection. However, females had higher TSF than males, and strikingly, this sex difference had increased over only two generations in populations evolving under sexual selection. We hypothesized that an increase in male-induced harm to females during mating had played a central role in driving this evolved sex difference, and indeed, remating under conditions limiting male harassment of females reduced both male and female TSF. Moreover, we show that manipulation of mating system parameters in C. maculatus generates intraspecific variation in the sex difference in TSF equal to that found among a diverse set of studies on insects. Our study provides a causal link between the mating system and TSF. Sexual conflict, (re)mating rates and genetic responses to sexual selection differ among ecological settings, mating systems and species. Our study therefore also provides mechanistic understanding for the variability in previously reported TSFs which can inform future experimental assays and predictions of species responses to climate warming. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
  • EFSA Panel Anim Hlth Welf AHAW; Nielsen, Soren Saxmose; Winckler, Christoph (2020)
    The killing of cattle for human consumption (slaughtering) can take place in a slaughterhouse or on farm. The processes of slaughtering that were assessed for welfare, from the arrival of cattle until their death (including slaughtering without stunning), were grouped into three main phases: pre-stunning (including arrival, unloading from the truck, lairage, handling and moving of cattle); stunning (including restraint); and bleeding. Stunning methods were grouped into two categories: mechanical and electrical. Twelve welfare consequences that cattle may be exposed to during slaughter were identified: heat stress, cold stress, fatigue, prolonged thirst, prolonged hunger, impeded movement, restriction of movements, resting problems (inability to rest or discomfort during resting), social stress, pain, fear and distress. Welfare consequences and their relevant animal-based measures are described. In total, 40 welfare hazards that could occur during slaughter were identified and characterised, most of them related to stunning and bleeding. Staff were identified as the origin of 39 hazards, which were attributed to the lack of appropriate skill sets needed to perform tasks or to fatigue. Measures to prevent and correct hazards were identified, and structural and managerial measures were identified as those with a crucial role in prevention. Outcome tables linking hazards, welfare consequences, animal-based measures, origin of hazards, and preventive and corrective measures were developed for each process. Mitigation measures to minimise welfare consequences are proposed. (C) 2020 European Food Safety Authority. EFSA Journal published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd on behalf of European Food Safety Authority.