High summer temperatures, combined with high humidity levels, can cause significant heat stress to cattle. Heat stress increases as night temperatures remain high.
Three days of these conditions can result in elevated stress for cattle. Here’s a quick guide to several resources that can help guide producers through the summer months.
Signals of Heat Stress
- Heavy breathing. As cattle progress, they will exhibit open mouth breathing, panting and slobbering.
- Loss of coordination. If they go down, the animal will most likely not recover.
How to Prevent Stress
- Provide additional water to cattle on pasture. Check water sources frequently.
- Observe cattle for abnormal behavior or lack of movement.
- Refrain from creating additional stress. Avoid handling, transporting or moving cattle. If needed, perform those tasks early in the morning using low-stress handling techniques.
- Provide shade, either by allowing access to pastures with trees or providing access to open buildings. Temporary shade facilities are also a good option.
- Provide ventilation for cattle housed or fed in buildings.