Skip to main content

In Britain the awful wet weather so far this spring has limited sunshine hours and heat stress risks. However this is now starting to change with the current sunny conditions. This afternoon the conditions over the three hours up to 4:00pm will have put the cows into a mild degree of heat stress (see image). This will have resulted in changes in behaviour. Cows will start seeking shade to escape the radiant heat from the sun and they may start ‘clumping’ in unusual places. Respiratory rates will have increased and this may have interfered with eating.

Today’s higher temperatures and risk of heat stress should be taken as a ‘warning call’ to check you are ready to cope with heat stress. Make sure all water troughs and tanks are working and fast filling. Plan how you can make the best use of shade on your farm (from housing and from tress in the pasture paddocks). If you have fans are these working well – check belts for slippage, clean off any dust and straw, check controllers etc. If you are using any feed additives do you have adequate stocks available?

I have been in shirt-sleeves all day – probably a pretty solid indicator of the onset of heat-stress conditions – unless you are a ‘postie’!