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Heat Stress in Cattle and Prevention Techniques

Signs of Heat Stress in Cattle and Prevention

Learn how to spot signs of heat stress in cattle and prevention techniques to keep them safe during the hot summer months in order to help protect your bottom line.

Why is it Important to Prevent Heat Stress?

It’s important to learn how to spot the signs of heat stress in cattle and prevention techniques because cows that are stressed, cost you money. 

Heat stress occurs when cows generate and absorb more heat from the sun than they can get rid of by sweating or having fans blow on them. Heat stress can lead to disease, reduced milk production, calves with lower birth weights and other unfavorable circumstances amongst your herd. Because of these negative effects, it’s imperative to keep your cattle cool when we’re experiencing hot weather.

How to Spot Signs of Heat Stress 

If your cows are exhibiting the following symptoms, they may be experiencing heat stress:

  • Breathing with mouths open and/or panting
  • Lethargy
  • High respiratory (breathing) rates 
  • Body temperatures above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Decreased milk production
  • Reduced movement
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased water consumption

Prevention Techniques

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Now that you know how to spot the signs of heat stress, let’s explore ways to prevent it. Incorporate these methods during hot summer months. 

  • Supply fresh water throughout the day 
  • Provide adequate shade structures, designed to also prevent crowding 
  • Keep barns well ventilated
  • Utilize sprinklers and misters when experiencing dry heat but be careful not to overuse 
  • Keep milking center holding areas cool and uncrowded 

Resources 

If you would like to learn more about how to spot signs of heat stress in cattle and prevention techniques, please contact a Munson Lakes Sales Representative at (320) 543-2561. Visit The Country Store to pick up your feed, mineral and dairy products or place an order online. Additional details can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension’s website.