Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Effects of heat stress on cows
The main effects of heat stress are: reduced dry matter (DM) intake, reduced milk yield with lower fat and protein levels, reduced fertility and increased water consumption. In addition, nutrient intake and feed passage in the digestive tract are diminished. Hence, energy intake may decrease to just 75%.
To evacuate surplus heat, cows will raise their respiration rate and start panting. Together with increased salivation, this reduces buffer capacity and augments the risk of ruminal acidosis. Cows suffering from heat stress spend two to three hours a day less lying down. When standing, it is easier to breathe and evacuate heat. However, together with the increased risk of ruminal acidosis, this increases the chance of claw disorders later on.
Tips and tricks to prevent heat stress
- Check ventilation capacity and increase ventilation rate when necessary (mechanical ventilation)
- Control water management: at least 10% of all cows can drink simultaneously from large open troughs
- Check cleanliness of water troughs daily
- It is advisable to feed a special ration (supplemented with additional minerals and vitamins) to the cows at least twice a day (to keep the ration fresh and tasty)
- During hot periods, it is advisable to graze cows during the night or during cooler periods (evening, early morning) of the day.
- If you have the Sensehub, you will have a graph called "Group Daily Heat Stress" where you will be able to see 4 things (Daily Production Average, Heavy Breathing, Eating & Rumination.
If you have any burning questions, contact your FMS Specialist