High heat and humidity are not great for cows. When these factors get too overwhelming, they can lead to heat stress in the cattle. This can have a lot of negative effects on the cows, such as lower weight gains, reduced breeding efficiency, and even death in severe cases. That’s why it’s important to properly manage these conditions and mitigate the negative aspects as much as possible. In today’s blog, we’ll outline some ways to take care of your cattle in high heat. For more cattle management tips, visit our website.
Water is one of the best tools for reducing the effects of heat stress on your animals. Water helps to lower internal body temperature back to normal limits. Research suggests that water temperature relates to brain centers that control feed consumption. When your animals aren’t eating, they aren’t gaining weight. Above-ground water lines should be protected by shade or tall grass. Check the water temperature in troughs throughout the summer to see if adjustments need to be made. As the environmental temperature increases, the amount of water needed for adequate hydration increases.
Bear in mind that cattle produce less heat when digesting corn than when digesting hay. If your cattle are on a purely grass-fed diet, or they’re only going to be grass-finished, this just needs to be properly managed. One way to help alleviate the heat is by feeding more frequently in smaller portions, therefore keeping the hay fresher. You can also feed the bulk of the silage at night instead of in the morning. Feeding higher-quality food also reduces heat of fermentation. Visit our blog for more information on grasses and feed.
Watch carefully for any warning signs of heat stress. Cows will stand up to help the heat dissipate from more surface area on their body, so seeing a cow lying down in the summertime during extreme heat could be a bad sign.
With your help, cattle can safely make it through a hot and humid summer. To visit our ranches or book them for a summer activity, check out our website.