Last week was a major heat wave; many areas reached over 30’C every day of the week: some of the warmest September weather ever recorded. Grazing conditions tend to be more volatile (depending on amounts of direct sunshine). Again all farms experienced heat stress through the week. The southern farms experienced severe conditions with high predicted maximal losses. The most severe weather was in the second part of the week. Cows will have built up a large heat load in these conditions and it will take several days to clear.
The ’severe’ conditions (purple) seen on many of our farms would have been a very uncomfortable welfare insult for any grazing cows. Providing adequate shade at pasture on a modern dairy farm can be very difficult and, in practice, most of the affected farms will have housed some or all of their cattle in these conditions.
A future post will look at how hot it got in grazing conditions.