Heat stress can have a negative impact on cow performance so it's well worth taking steps to keep your cows cool, as temperatures rise. If cows are exposed to temperatures higher than 25oC for prolonged periods of time, heat stress occurs and cows will start cooling themselves by panting, drooling and increasing their blood flow. These all use energy and nutrients that would otherwise be used by the cow to produce milk and maintain fertility. Heat stress can lower milk yield, decrease butterfat, reduce fertility and cause rumen health problems.
To help manage the effects of heat stress make sure that cows have enough feed space (about 0.7 metres per cow) and that feed is available at all times. Grazing cows need shade and the opportunity to cool down. Provide a plentiful supply of clean water and ensure that cows are no more than 250 metres away from a water supply at any time.
To find out how to manage, through nutrition, the effects of heat stress talk to your ForFarmers account manager or call 0330 678 0982.
It is important to remember the negative impact that heat stress can have on cow performance and put strategies in place to mitigate the harm that it can have on your herd.