Impact of intake water temperatures on reticular temperatures of lactating dairy cows

J. M. Bewley, M. W. Grott, M. E. Einstein, M. M. Schutz

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86 Scopus citations


Automatic temperature recording may allow early detection of disease, estrus, heat stress, and the onset of calving. The phase IV Cattle Temperature Moni-toring System (MaGiiX Inc., Post Falls, ID) utilizes a passive bolus equipped with a temperature sensor, a stationary panel reader to query the bolus, and software to collect, analyze, and display data. One potential limitation to collection of reticular temperatures is the effect of water temperature and consumption on recorded temperatures. Two replicated 3 × 3 Latin square experiments were conducted at the Purdue Dairy Research and Education Center to assess the impact of water intake on reticular temperatures using the Cattle Temperature Monitoring System. Nine high-producing, mid-lactation, second-parity cows with low somatic cell counts were selected. Before administering a water treatment, access to feed and water was restricted for at least 2 h. Baseline reticular temperatures were established from measurements before water intake. In experiment 1, treatments were 25.2 kg of hot water (34.3°C ± 1.0), warm water (18.2°C ± 0.4), or cold water (7.6°C ± 0.4). In experiment 2, treatments were 18.9 kg of body-temperature water (38.9°C ± 0.2), cold water (5.1°C ± 0.4), or control (no water). Following water intake, reticular temperatures were collected for 3 h. In experiment 1, an initial dramatic decrease in reticular temperature was observed followed by a gradual increase toward baseline. Least squares means for maximum drop in temperature were 8.5 ± 0.5, 6.9 ± 0.5, and 2.2 ± 0.5°C for cold, warm, and hot water treatments, respectively. Yet at 3 h, reticular temperatures did not return to the baseline. In experiment 2, control cows remained within the baseline confidence interval through the observation period, and cows receiving body temperature water experienced an initial decrease in temperature (0.4 ± 0.2°C) with a return to within the baseline confidence interval within 15 min. Cows receiving cold water did not return to within the baseline confidence interval after a large decrease of 9.2 ± 0.2°C during the 3-h observational period. Moreover, a regression analysis of continued ascent in temperatures predicted that temperatures would return to baseline within 3.5 h. These results demonstrate that, when cows consume large quantities of cold water, the effect of water intake is sizable and sustained. The value of reticular temperatures for daily monitoring in a production setting hinges largely on the implications of this impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3880-3887
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Reticular temperature
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Water intake


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