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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Herzl 229, Rehovot 7610001, Israel
Phone: +972-(0)8-9489119;
Fax: +972-(0)8-9465763;
Yael Lewitus, Department's Secretary


Berman, A. An overview of heat stress relief with global warming in perspective. International Journal of Biometeorology 2019, 63, 493-498. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Global warming seems more probable, whether as gradual warming or increased frequency of warmer episodes. The productivity of cattle in temperate countries will decline unless counteracting steps are adopted. The probability of pre-emptive breeding for maintaining temperate breed performance coupled with heat stress tolerance is too low to be adopted for counteracting warming. The expected warming will mostly involve temperature increases. These will indirectly affect radiant heat gain in animals owing to reduced radiant heat dissipation from the body by convective heat loss, which results in an increased sensitivity to incoming radiant heat at higher air temperatures. These necessitate an emphasis on increasing convective heat loss by structure design and forced air flow by fans. Convective heat loss diminishes with increasing air temperatures. Evaporative heat loss remains the alternative. Evaporative cooling of the ambient requires partial enclosing of the space surrounding the animals and is limited by the humidity in ambient air. An alternative was developed of coupling forced ventilation with wetting of animal surface. The exchange of ambient air flowing on animal surface makes the evaporation practically independent of air humidity and the loss of heat from animal surface practically independent of the surface to air temperature gradient. The coupling of forced ventilation with wetting combination may be attained in various parts of the dairy farm, the holding area of the milking parlour, the feeding trip and the resting area. Each of these requires differing structural and technological adaptations. Climate and farming systems vary between locations which require specific solutions. © 2019, ISB.
Berman, A. ; Horovitz, T. ; Kaim, M. ; Gacitua, H. A comparison of THI indices leads to a sensible heat-based heat stress index for shaded cattle that aligns temperature and humidity stress. International Journal of Biometeorology 2016, 60, 1453-1462. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The combined temperature-humidity heat stress is estimated in farm animals by indices derived of an index based on human thermal comfort sensation. The latter index consists of temperature and humidity measures that sum to form the temperature-humidity index (THI). The hitherto unknown relative contribution of temperature and humidity to the THI was examined. A temperature-humidity data set (temperature 20–42 °C and relative humidity 10–70 %) was used to assess by regression procedures the relative weights of temperature and humidity in the variance of THI values produced by six commonly used heat stress indices. The temperature (Ta) effect was predominant (0.82–0.95 of variance) and humidity accounted for only 0.05 to 0.12 of THI variance, half of the variance encountered in animal responses to variable humidity heat stress. Significant difference in THI values was found between indices in the relative weights of temperature and humidity. As in THI indices, temperature and humidity are expressed in different physical units, their sum has no physical attributes, and empirical evaluations assess THI relation to animal responses. A sensible heat THI was created, in which at higher temperatures humidity reaches 0.25 of sensible heat, similarly to evaporative heat loss span in heat stressed animals. It relates to ambient temperature-humidity similarly to present THI; its values are similar to other THI but greater at higher humidity. In warm conditions, mean animal responses are similar in both indices. The higher sensitivity to humidity makes this index preferable for warm-humid conditions. © 2016, ISB.