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Help Mitigate Heat Stress in Cattle This Summer

6 months, 3 weeks ago from NAFB

Researchers have identified four main areas that influence an animal’s response to heat stress

As summer moves along - researchers at the Meat Animal Research Center have identified four main areas that influence an animal’s response to heat stress - according to Ag Web.

Those four areas are genetics, health, production status and previous exposure to heat. Research shows cattle with dark hides had a two-degree higher core body temperature than those with lighter hides. Also - calmer cattle seem to be more heat tolerant than excitable ones.

What cattle eat also plays a role in heat stress - as excessive protein levels can cause problems because the excess nitrogen must be biochemically removed and excreted through urine - which uses energy and creates heat.

With these things in mind - Penn State extension educator David Hartman says cattle producers need to make sure they are doing everything possible to prevent heat stress in their herds. Shade is a key factor - though allowing cattle to stay in the shade all summer will result in nutrient creep from the pastures to shade areas and in less efficient utilization of pasture.

Hartman says water intake is also critical. During hot weather - experts say cattle need 3 linear inches of water tank space per head - and a 1,000-pound animal needs about 1.5-gallons of water per hour during hot weather.

Timing of feeding can also make a difference - according to Hartman - so feedlot managers should consider allowing more of the heat of digestion to take place during lower nighttime temperatures. Provide adequate ventilation to cattle in barns and take action to control flies - too.

For more information - visit noble.org/ag/livestock/heat.


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