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Variability in Monthly Rainfall and Temperature Has an Influence on Daily Milk Production in Sahiwal Cows in Kenya
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Volume 7, 2020
Issue 2 (March)
Pages: 8-12   |   Vol. 7, No. 2, March 2020   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 11   Since Dec. 10, 2020 Views: 558   Since Dec. 10, 2020
MacDonald Gichuru Githinji, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization, Naivasha, Kenya; Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University, Egerton, Kenya.
Evans Deyie Ilatsia, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization, Naivasha, Kenya.
Thomas Kainga Muasya, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University, Egerton, Kenya.
Bockline Omedo Bebe, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University, Egerton, Kenya.
Climate change leads to alteration of environmental conditions directly or indirectly through anthropogenic activities. The consequences include fluctuations in the mean as well as variability of recognizable environmental variables with the changes persisting for longer than normal periods. Climate change poses numerous serious threats to livestock production through increased temperature, changes and shifts in rainfall distribution and increased frequency of extreme weather events. Grazing systems that are dependent on the natural cycle of climatic conditions are expected to be more seriously impacted by climate change. The consequences of climate change include increased heat stress, reduced water and feed quality and availability, increased cases of diseases and pests and or emergence of new ones. As livestock farmers in the tropics continue to bear the brunt of climate change, there is need to understand how the variability of identifiable environmental variables influence livestock performance. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of rainfall and temperature of milk yield in Sahiwal cattle in Kenya. Monthly milk yield records of Sahiwal cows and meteorological data for monthly minimum and maximum temperature and rainfall for a period of 32 years were extracted from records at the national Sahiwal stud, Naivasha, Kenya. The relationship between the variables was studied by multiple regression analysis. Minimum and maximum temperature and monthly rainfall significantly (P < 0.05) affected monthly milk yield. The proportion of total variation accounted for by climatic variables was small (0.5%) but significant. Each individual weather variable accounted for a small proportion of total variation. Minimum and maximum temperature had a negative effect on monthly milk yield. For every 1°C increase temperature, in monthly milk yield decreased by -1.58kg and -1.17kg, respectively. A 1 mm increase in monthly rainfall of monthly caused monthly milk yield to increase by 0.07kg. Mitigating strategies are required to alleviate the negative effects of temperature on monthly milk yield. Sound grazing management and feed conservation could harness the advantage of the positive effect of rainfall on milk yield.
Climate Change, Heat Stress, Mitigation, Rainfall Variability
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