Changes on my farm
There are many changes you can make on your farm to combat heat stress. Start by looking at your farm as a whole, and what opportunities there are to reduce radiant heat load on cows by improving shade. Consider use of
- trees in paddocks,
- portable paddock shade structures,
- a permanent shade structure (shed), or a combination of these.
Then look at opportunities to help cows cool themselves by evaporation. You may wish to do a review of your whole farm and rate your paddocks based on heat load using this suggested method. You may wish to read this information on shade and evaporative cooling options.
Having addressed shade and evaporative cooling options, you will also need to consider changes to many aspects of your herd management as the heat intensifies. A total systems re-think will give the best chance of getting through the hot season with minimal impact on your bottom line and the future health and fertility of your cows. You may wish to read this information on possible changes to general herd management, summer herd nutrition program and reproductive management.