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Heat stress occurs when an environment impacts the ability of a cow to get rid of body heat. Cows need to be raised in an environment where temperatures are within their thermoneutral zones to achieve their maximal genetic potential. Failures to establish adequate environmental temperatures can dramatically alter behavior, health, and productivity of cows.
Hot weather can bring a long list of problems for dairy producers. When cows are heat stressed, they eat less, produce less milk, have reduced immune function and higher SCC, and show reduced fertility. A spike in lameness often follows the hot season. In severe heat waves, cows can even die. In addition to the economic burden, the discomfort from heat stress also reduces animal welfare.
When we talk about thermal stress in pre-weaned calves, often we discuss cold stress. However, calves can become environmentally stressed when temperatures are too cold or too hot. During extreme cold or hot temperatures, calves utilize extra energy to maintain their core body temperature. The temperature range at which a calf uses no additional energy […]
Managing heat stress in dry cows is just as important as it is for lactating cows because it determines the amount of productivity and success a cow will have during her lactation. It can also influence the future success of the daughters and granddaughters of the dry cow.
Even in Wisconsin, summer days can be hot enough to cause heat stress for cows. The thermo-neutral range for cattle, in which they do not need to expend energy to keep their body temperature stable, is about 41°F to 77°F. When the temperature is above 77°F, especially with high humidity, cattle can have reduced production, […]
Dairy cattle are susceptible to heat stress during much of the summer. Dietary adjustments can help maintain nutrient intake and production.
As summer temperatures rise, dairy cows are at greater risk for heat stress. Heat stressed dairy cows suffer from reduced dry matter intake, leading to reduced milk production. Farmers may also see reduced fertility or loss of a pregnancy and increased metabolic and lameness issues. Combating heat stress in the herd requires an action plan to prevent heat stress and address heat stress-related issues.
Farmers enrolled in DHI receive several reports regarding herd performance. The Herd Summary Report (HSR) encompasses three main sections: Milk Production, Reproduction & Genetics, and Inventory. The milk production section has eight blocks—the focus related to heat stress will be on Blocks D, F, and G. The Reproduction & Genetics section has five blocks—the focus for heat stress will be on Block L.
Feeding high-quality colostrum to the calf as soon as possible after birth is the most important thing you can do for calf health. It is especially important for dairy and beef x dairy calves destined to leave the farm at a young age to receive colostrum.
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Paul M. Fricke, Professor of Dairy Sciences, gives a talk about Pregnancy Diagnosis in Dairy Cows using PAG Levels in Blood and Milk.
With changes taking place in feed testing in commercial labs, Randy Shaver & Luiz Ferraretto help make sense of what’s showing up on the reports that nutritionists and farmers are looking at.