How can you recognize heat stress?
When the temperatures rise above 20 degrees, your dairy cattle may suffer from heat stress. Cows are far more likely to suffer from heat stress than, say, humans (the average person sweats ten times more than a cow). As a result, they are less able to get rid of their body heat quickly, resulting in heat stress. Although annoying for you, the health of your dairy cattle and the milk production are put in jeopardy.
Recognizable symptoms of heat stress include the following:
- Your dairy cattle start to drink more
- Your dairy cattle start to pant and sweat
- Excessive drooling
- Your dairy cattle prefer to be standing in the meadow (Which allows them to get rid of their body heat more efficiently but is bad for milk production)
1): Enough water:
Logical of course, but how much should they drink on one day? After asking our specialists, we conclude that should be about 40 liters + 4x the milk production! So, make sure there are enough watering points with sufficient water.
2): Ventilated (cool) cow shed:
Cows are kept close together here, so it always gets warm. Therefore, ensure sufficient ventilation, which happens to be the most enjoyable way to work!
3): The siesta pasture:
With this heat, your dairy cattle like to seek shade. If this is not possible because there is no shade, you can choose to keep your dairy cattle indoors in the afternoon and let them out again later when it is cooler..
4): Feed Portions
In case of heat stress, the feed intake is reduced by 10 to 12%. Adjust your portions accordingly by adding a little more energy.
5): Cool and dry bedding
Provide bedding that releases sufficient heat, so not insulating. Bio-Bedding/separated manure is a good example of this!
6): Extra tip!
Also make sure that you (yes, you!) also drink enough in this heat when you are spreading manure or ensilaging!
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