Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle


2020 marked record levels in the Temperature Humidity Index (THI) and exposed animals to more heat stress conditions than the average year; it seems this summer is no different. Yet even Darwin observed and made record of cattle being unable to get pregnant in the heat of summer.  

The ideal temperature range for dairy cattle falls between 25-65 degrees Fahrenheit, with 68 degrees Fahrenheit marking initial heat stress conditions. While the 80s or 90s are typically marked as the levels when heat stress occurs, subtle stress occurs in animals long before these elevated temperatures and humid conditions.

Reduced reproduction, decreased milk yields, and poor appetite are some of the initial responses to heat stress and they only compound as the stress levels increase.

Heat stress impacts metabolism as decreased appetite leads to a negative energy balance and loss of body weight. Did you know that systematic acidosis can be caused through heat stress? P-One™ delivers Smartbacteria to stabilize and maintain pH, which negates acidosis and subacute rumen acidosis. Maintaining a healthy rumen and efficiently functioning gastrointestinal tract, keeps cows on track and supports high functioning metabolism to benefit cow health.  

Microbiology Nutrition offers a nutrient dense ration to elevate cow health so they handle the heat. A nutrient dense ration is formulated with all the nutrition the cow needs in a much smaller package. This means that she has less mouthfuls of feed to consume to meet her calorie and nutrient needs. With a consistent schedule, the entire herd can meet their energy needs and moreover are ready for the next feeding when the mixer drives by – No warm, sloppy refusals to push out and no wasted dollars spent!  For the entire herd this means less time eating, less time at the feed alley, less feed to digest, less waste/manure to excrete, and more time being able to lay to chew cud and make milk.

Producers are seeing tremendous results with Priority through the heat. Learn from their findings from their on-farm learning as their dairies are their research-proving site - Check out Priority's Heat Stress education piece.

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