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10 tips to help dairy and beef cattle face the summer months

10 tips to help dairy and beef cattle face the summer months

Heat stress impacts the performance and well-being of dairy and beef cattle. Some practical adaptation measures can be put in place for the herd when the hot months are in sight:

  1. Check the flow of water tanks, as water supply can be limiting. As temperatures increase, water consumption also rises
  2. Ventilate the building at best as possible by creating a draft. Low openings for refreshing animals are very useful. Provide some shade
  3. Implement an early insect repellent strategy. Flies cause a decrease in rumination
  4. Carefully monitor the heating of the ration at the trough. A trial on farmed heifers revealed an 11% decrease in intake with a ration that was heating (Dr. Kung- University of Delaware). If the ration heats, try to spread and push it more frequently. However, the most effective method is to treat the silage at harvest with a silage inoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 and Lactobacillus hilgardii CNCM I-4785
  5. Distributing the ration at the coolest hours of the day also promotes consumption
  6. Check sodium and potassium intake
  7. Concentrate the ration to limit the effects of feed intake reduction. For example, for beef:
    1. At 27°C – decrease in feed intake of 4% = potential growth loss 100 g approximately
    2. At 30°C – decrease in feed intake of 10% = potential growth loss 300 g approximately
    3. At 35°C – decrease in feed intake of 28% = potential growth loss 800 g approximately
  8. Feed live yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 in reinforced dose as soon as the ambient temperature increases. By stabilizing the rumen pH and feed intake, this rumen specific yeast will maintain the growth and milk potentials
  9. Ensuring an adequate level of antioxidant solutions (vitamin A and E) is important. Providing a combination of primary antioxidants such as Selenium yeast proven for its superior bioavailability and a source of vegetal Superoxide Dismutase is shown to increase antioxidant status of animals with positive consequences on animal product quality (milk or meat)
  10. Finally, considering longer-term planning, keep in mind that the increase in ambient temperature and the increasing variability are detrimental to fattening cattle. It is advisable to plan buildings design accordingly.

Published Jul 9, 2020 | Updated Dec 4, 2023

BeefDairy cowHeat Stress