Cattle feel those extremely warm temperatures, just like we do when we’re outside in the summertime. Florida is especially prone to hot temperatures, high humidity, and unrelenting sun, so raising cattle here can prove to be a special challenge. At Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, we’re committed to providing the best care for our cattle that we can, along with education to others so they can do the same. Visit our blog for more rancher tips, and check out this one to learn how to help your cattle in the heat.
How Hot is Too Hot?
Did you know the optimal temperature for cattle is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit? They may start to feel heat stress as temperatures climb above that threshold. Many factors contribute to a cow’s heat limit, including their breed, coat type and length, nutrition, and even age. When monitoring temperatures, it’s important to look at the heat index, or how hot it feels outside, as opposed to just the temperature.
Signs of Heat Stress
Keep your eyes open to signs of heat stress so you can mitigate it early on. If you see cows crowded together under any shade they can find, or standing in bodies of water like ponds or even water troughs, these are likely signs they’re trying to cool down. Cattle under heat stress might also salivate more and breathe heavier and more rapidly as they try to control their bodies’ temperature. As the stress gets worse, it can lead to a decrease in appetite, which ultimately impacts your bottom line.
Ways to Prevent and Manage Heat Stress
Ensure your pastures have plenty of areas where cows can cool off, including abundant shade and even some sprinkler activity. A decreased appetite can lead to a decline in body condition, so it’s important to try to maintain that for the health of your herd. Ensure they have open access to minerals and salt licks so they can gain back the nutrients they may be losing. To see some of our setup here, come visit us for an agritour.
Farmers have to carefully monitor the heat since their cattle will feel it more intensely than we do. With good care, your herd can continue to thrive this summer. Interested in purchasing grass-fed beef from Dark Hammock? Visit our website to learn more.