How to get your cows
through the summer period
Prolonged heat in the summer months is often stressful for dairy cows.
For dairy farmers, this results in several challenges: decreasing harvest volumes, decreased feed quality for the following cuts and decreased dairy performance due to heat stress.
Heat stress starts already at 20 degrees
Climate circumstances are often an underestimated problem for high yielding dairy cows.
Starting at 20 °C and high humidity conditions, heat stress negatively influences performance and health of the animals. The cow tries to counteract and decreases feed intake, in order reduce metabolic warmth, consequently resulting in decreased performance, too. The result is an energy deficit!
How to recognize heat stress:
- rapid respiration up to panting
- stretched neck and open mouth
- increased water intake
- decreased resting time
- reduced feed intake
Current studies: Additional water supply reduces stress
The effects on the cow result not only from current daily values, but also from the conditions, e.g. temperature and humidity, of previous days (OTTEN et al. 2022). Heat stress over several days increases the negative influence on feed intake and milk yield.
In the current study, however, heat stress over several days partially reduced water intake, contrary to the general assumption. The presumed reason for this was that heifers and weaker animals were pushed away from the drinking places by higher-ranking cows.
It is therefore all the more important to ensure water intake at all times and in sufficient quantities, even for lower-ranking cows, during long periods of heat. By offering additional drinking facilities during these phases, the cows can be positively supported and stress situations can be alleviated.
Conclusion: Duration of heat stress and water availability play an important role in dairy cows.
Feeding against heat stress – more concentrates are no solution!
As cows prefer concentrates under heat stress conditions, fibre efficiency tends to decrease, increasing the risk of acidosis. To keep the risk of acidosis but also the displacement of forage amounts as low as possible, rumen-stable fats are recommended.
Maintain performance with rumen-stable fats!
Rumen-stable fats relieve the cow’s metabolism as they produce less metabolic heat than carbohydrates. Trials have shown that performance can be stabilized if components rich in starch are replaced by rumen-stable fats during the summer season.
Watch our video to learn more about the benefits and uses of rumen-stable fat powders
BEWI-SPRAY® RS 70 or BEWI-SPRAY® 99 M
Here's something else that may interest you:
Also calves suffer from heat stress
During heat stress conditions, most farmers think about their dairy cows first, but the effects on calves are no less serious. The stress can begin in the womb. Lower birth weights, a weakened immune system and reduced feed intake lead to a poor start in life. This also has consequences for the milk yield later on.learn more
High temperatures lead to stressed pigs
A targeted approach is important to decrease the impact of heat stress as much as possible. Modifying the feeding regime therefor plays an important role.learn more
Not all fats are the same
When using rumen-stable fats, it is important to know their special properties. Because: not all fats are the same! Products on the market differ significantly in terms of the fatty acid pattern, the manufacturing process and thus also in terms of rumen stability and digestibility.learn more