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Leader of the experimental station research initiative focusing in sustainable milk production in the tropics through genetic selection, nutritional strategies, and maximizing forage utilization.
One of the greatest challenges to dairy production in subtropical and tropical regions of the world is heat stress. In the future, climate change may also expose the temperate regions of the world to hotter and longer hot seasons perhaps with higher relative humidity. Because the principal dairy breeds have been mostly selected from temperate regions, climate change might increasingly expose dairy cows in all parts of the world to chronic heat stress, negatively affecting dairy productivity.
To minimize the effects of heat stress, three management strategies have been identified: 1) physical modification of the environment, 2) improved nutritional management practices, 3) genetic development of heat-tolerant breeds.
we aim to contribute to our knowledge of the physiologic characteristics that provide dairy cattle with thermo tolerance. Dairy cattle better adapted to heat stress would have more efficient lactations under heat stress and likely would have better feed efficiencies that non-adapted animals.
With the uncertainties presented by global warming, a better understanding of dairy cattle adaptations to heat stress certainly has national and global importance. The understanding of heat tolerance in dairy cattle would be essential to promote and efficient, environmentally sustainable and profitable dairy industry, allowing it to keep its competitive advantage within a warmer global climate, and significantly contribute to the food security of Puerto Rico.
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