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Cool Cows and Climate Change - Information for Dairy Farmers
Yearly cycle to keep cows cool
Where are you now?
Cool season preparation
Go on alert
Hot season strategies
Review and replan

Managing in the heat

A yearly cycle to keep cows cool

You need to be proactive not reactive if you want to manage how heat affects your herd. It is no good waiting until the hot weather has arrived - you need to start in winter!


Ensure cows' body temperatures are normal for as much of the day as possible.


An integrated, whole-of-year approach helps ensure you make the best use of what you already have, and can add to your ability to keep cows cool from year to year. It also helps you prepare infrastructure such as shade and sprinklers, which will be critical in getting cows through an excessive heat load event - when cows melt. 

A proactive program involves:

Cool Season

Review the whole farm for shade and consider your options.
Think about further infrastructure investments, shade plantings or tweaks to your hot season management procedures before the next hot season.
Infrastructure checks at this stage should make sure you are not caught short when the hot season begins.

Hot Season

Go on alert – keep an eye on your cows and the weather and take practical steps when you see a meltdown event looming.
Re-think how you manage the herd in the heat.
Implement a summer nutrition program, change your milking times, paddock rotation and mating management.


Australian Government - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry