Cow Comfort for the Dairy Farmer in the Hottest of Summer Temperatures
The summer heat is known to take a toll on cattle. So, wouldn’t it be a great idea to learn how to prevent heat stress? In this article, we will be sharing our best tips and tricks with this regard.
Summer is just around the corner, and as farmers have done every year – planning on surviving it without all those hot spells making the cows miserable. There aren’t many summers where farmers don’t find at least a few prolonged periods of oppressive humidity and heat. This then causes the cattle’s milk production to drop by at least a gallon per day.
Heat stress is also known to decrease the fertility of cows, which in turn results in increased lengths of lactation. Due to all of these outcomes, it is important for us to deal effectively and learn how to prevent heat stress for dairy herds.
Avoiding heat stress in dairy farms might be quite difficult, but metabolic problems and decrease in feed intake can be easily mitigated with some advanced planning. Heat stress can definitely be managed to minimize the negative impacts of the cows’ health and, ultimately, the production of milk.
3 Methods of Managing Heat Stress in Cows
1. Have Clean Water around All the Time
The University of Minnesota found that water is the best solution of controlling the dehydration of cows because it helps cool them internally. With this regard, they also determined that at least 25 gallons of water is necessary per day for each cow.
The Washington State University, on the other hand, found that it is very important to provide cows with water right after milking. This is because of the fact that cows will drink about 50% to 60% of their entire daily intake after they have been milked.
2. Provide Shade Outside
Researchers have determined that cows will be most comfortable in the temperature range of 40 to 50 degrees (F). They also found that they can manage to remain comfortable at 80 degrees (F) if the humidity stays low.
The University of Georgia determined that cooling/feeding barns should be made with free stalls. With the help of free stalls, you will be able to minimize the transfer of heat energy from the metal roofs on to the cows.
Super Duty Fans are proven to lower the temperature in the areas they are hung. They can be easily installed on the ceiling in a variety of angles which gives them a better position to cool a wider space with the specially designed shrouds. The largest, 5XL, fan cools up to ##### square feet by using 42,000 CFMs.
Another thing that farmers can pay attention to is to avoid overcrowding in pens. Overcrowding will most definitely minimize the airflow in the barn.
3. Perform All the Necessary Activities in the Morning
Activities such as dehorning, moving, vaccinating among other things, should be performed in the morning. They should be done during times when the temperature is lower and before the sun is out completely.
The University of Minnesota has recommended all farmers to increase the care and management of their heifer and calves during all the summer months. Changing the levels of humidity and temperature are naturally impossible, but with all of these heat management techniques, you can ensure your cattle remains comfortable during all those hot summer days.