Heat stress is the driving force behind the dreaded summer milk slump, costing up to $5.60 per cow per day in lost profit. As your local weather forecast starts to heat up, follow these seven steps to help beat the summer heat.
- Clean and service fans. Double check fans so they turn on and off at the correct times and temperatures.
- Check nozzles and soakers. Make sure nozzles and soakers work correctly. Keep an eye out for broken water lines, so water flows when and where you want it to.
- Test sprinklers and fans. Do a practice run, avoid surprises. If they worked last fall, it is not guaranteed they will work this summer.
- Adjust feeding times. A cow’s body temperature peaks in the early morning, which may limit feed intake. Afternoon feedings can help your cows maintain their appetite.
- Revisit the ration. Optimize cow nutrition for peak milk production. A stabilizer in the Total Mixed Ration (TMR) can help reduce secondary fermentation of the feed.
- Carefully manage the bunk face. Do not pull more feed off of the pile than needed. Good face management can prevent secondary fermentation and spoilage.
- Offer plenty of water. Consider adding temporary water storage, so water availability is not limiting intakes.
While these solutions may seem obvious, make sure you don’t overlook them on your farm. Getting the basics right goes a long way in preventing heat stress.
Preparing your cows to beat the heat will help them maintain peak milk and help you maintain profitability through the dog days of summer.
Talk with a Purina Animal Nutrition expert today and learn more about strategies to help your herd beat the summer heat. Download the free Purina® CoolCow® app for iPhone or Android to monitor heat stress on your farm.
For more on how heat stress could be impacting your herd, check out this article on heat stress and reproduction.