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Heat Tolerance Of Boran And Tuli Crossbred Steers.

J. Gaughan, T. Mader, S. Holt, M. Josey, K. Rowan
Published 1999 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Experiments were conducted to evaluate the heat tolerance of the following breeds: Hereford (H), Brahman (B), H x B, H x Boran (H x Bo), and H x Tuli (H x T). Heat tolerance was evaluated in a climatically controlled room (Exp. 1) and under summer environmental conditions (Exp. 2) by comparing rectal temperatures (RT), respiration rates (RR), and sweating rates (SW). In Exp. 1, under extremely hot conditions (mean temperature-humidity index [THI] > 90), purebred B had significantly (P < .05) lower RT and RR than other genotypes, which may be indicative of greater surface area per mass to dissipate heat and a lower metabolic rate than other genotypes. Boran and Tuli crosses had RT (39.5 degrees C) that were intermediate to those of B (39.0 degrees C) and H x B (40.0 degrees C). The H genotype had the greatest RT at 40.3 degrees C. Among the breeds, trends in RR were similar to RR observed at THI < 77; B had the lowest RR, and H x B were intermediate. However, in these extreme conditions, RR did not differ among the purebred H and the Boran and Tuli crossbred steers, but H x B steers had lower RR than the other H crossbred steers. Sweating rates were significantly greater for the Bos indicus x Bos taurus crosses (H x B and H x Bo) than for the purebred genotypes (H and B) and the Bos taurus cross (H x T). In Exp. 2, mean RT for B, H x B, H x Bo, and H x T were very similar to those recorded under the moderate heat stress conditions found in Exp. 1. There were no differences in RT among B, H x Bo, and H x T genotypes. The RR increased over time for H only, and RR for other genotypes tended to be elevated only slightly over time. Among genotypes, SW was significantly greater for the H x Bo steers. The ability of the Bos indicus crosses to dissipate heat through enhanced SW and associated evaporative cooling was evident. However, the heat-tolerant nature of the Bos taurus cross (H x T) was not evident through enhanced RR or SW in either experiment. Compared with other genotypes, the lower RR of B steers was clearly evident and is assumed to be due to greater surface area and other skin characteristics that allow them to dissipate heat to maintain lower RT. These data suggest that the H x Bo and H x T are similar to H x B and intermediate to H and B genotypes in maintaining homeostasis when exposed to a high heat load.
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