Managing Heat Stress

Now the summer months are well and truly here it is important to manage your herd properly, especially on days with temperatures 32oC and above. At increased temperature cows are heat stressed and one of the several ways cows reduce their heat load is by reducing their feed intake which usually results in reduced milk production and economic loss.

Dairy Australia has undertaken extensive educational and extension activities in the area of heat stress in dairy cattle. You can adopt one or more of the following strategies to maximise feed intake of your cows and minimise milk production loss:

  • Change the milking times- Early morning and later afternoon grazing preferred.
  • Access to a shaded area during the hottest part of the day with cool drinking water.
  • Provide high quality silage (NDF below 50%) near the shaded area to keep their feed intake levels up.
  • Allocating better quality pastures for night grazing as cows will graze significantly more during the cool of the night.
  • Feed a high energy dairy pellet (13 Mega Joules and above). Extra energy is preferably derived from ingredient that generates very little “heat of fermentation” and also do not predispose cows to ruminal acidosis (low rumen pH). Rice Bran is an excellent ingredient in this regard providing extra energy to cows.
  • Visit Dairy Australia’s website for regular updates on heat stress and four-day (THI) forecast for your area.

If you require some on farm assistance please call 1800 COPRICE.

CopRice Dairy Cows