By the looks of the calendar, it’s officially the start of the summer! High temperatures experienced in Kansas during the summer months generally raise the concern of heat stress on cattle. Luckily, the eight day forecast for this week in Eastern Kansas is looking rather mild for this time of year. Heat stress is hard on livestock, especially in combination with high humidity. If precautions are not taken by producers, the extreme hot weather and high humidity conditions can hinder beef cattle production. These can be seen from reduced feed intake and gains in feedlot cattle, risking reproductive efficiencies in breeding programs and sometimes in extreme cases cause death. For these reasons, Kansas cattle producers take extra care in the summer time to be sure their livestock are being properly cared for.
Cattle under a sunshade Calves drinking from a water tank
All producers implement a management plan of some fashion. Major management options typically include providing shade, increased air flow and ventilation and a sufficient amount of clean water. Shade for example can be utilized in the form of trees, sunshades above the cattle or even buildings. Ventilation can be provided in addition to shade for air movement by fans and windows on certain farms. The most essential management tool is ensuring that animals are given an adequate source of cool, fresh, clean drinking water. Water is the quickest and best form of cooling and maintaining normal limits for internal body temperatures of the animal. Since cattle are more sensitive to heat stress than humans, in the event extreme hot weather occurs, producers pay close attention to the animals and their environment to be sure they are comfortable and stay healthy.
Until next time,