Hot summer weather can be hard on feed ingredients and total mixed rations (TMRs). It is vital that feed quality and aerobic stability be maintained during this challenging season. Doing so will minimize nutrient losses while optimizing cow intakes which are often compromised due to heat stress challenges.
Dairy producers often struggle to quantify the impact of heat stress on their operations. The ability to use dairy management records to identify seasonal trends is critical to assess potential heat stress related losses. Diving into a dairy’s herd management software can help a producer quantify where the losses are occurring and, with some easy calculations, determine the profitability of investing in cow cooling measures.
Heat stress not only affects the productive ability of your cattle but also their ability to conceive and sustain a pregnancy. It is important to understand the effect heat stress can have on reproduction and how you can help minimize the effect.
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.