With the very hot weather recently we have seen some cases of Heat Stress. A cow can produce the same heat as a 1.4kW electric heater in ambient temperatures so with the recent high temperatures they can really struggle.

Signs and Symptoms to look out for:

  • Lethargy
  • Inactivity
  • Bowed heads
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Increased respiration rates
  • Cows will often move closer together and stand in tightly packed groups.
  • Reduced milk yield
  • Reduced appetite by up to 30% as this reduces rumen activity and heat production.

Practical Management

  • If possible put cattle in fields with shade.
  • Ensure there is enough water, water intakes can increase by 20% in hot weather to over 100 litres a day.
  • Cows are unlikely to walk more than 250m to water, so ensure all areas are adequately supplied.
  • Think about changing feeding times if feeding concentrates – feeding 60% of summer ration between 8pm and 8am will increase intakes.
  • Try to feed higher quality forage as they are digested quicker and therefore produce less heat.
  • Increase air flow in sheds.
  • If thinking about building new sheds, have more roof lights on the north facing side and less on south facing side to reduce heat.

For further information or for questions about your specific farm just give us a ring