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The past week has been typical weather for May – nice sunny periods with some showers.

The image below shows the heat stress situation for housed cows on our monitor farm in Berkshire. The shed is a modern building with a high roof and large air volumes but it lies in a very sheltered valley. The heat load pattern is similar but slightly worse than for grazing cows.

There are long periods with Moderate heat stress and most days the stress is High in the afternoon. Panting will be seen in the herd and more cows will be standing and fewer eating.

Although the heat stress risk falls away each evening there are signs that the heat load was accumulating day-on-day earlier in the week and this will impact milk production and health.

Water consumption will increase and cows may bunch in cooler parts of the shed.  Water supplies should be good and any fans should be run to help air flow and cooling.

The stress can be particularly bad in the collecting yard so cows should not be over-crowded whilst waiting to be milked.

Dairy Cow Heat Stress