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4 Strategies to Control Heat Stress

June 5, 2013
Sprinklers for cows
  
 
 

Triple-digit temperatures are expected this weekend in parts of dairy country. Prepare your dairy now.

Source: Alltech

With temperatures forecast to reach 108 F in Central California this weekend, it’s a good idea to prepare your dairy now. Consider these tips from Alltech.

1. Water. Always provide plenty of clean, fresh water since water requirements can double during heat stress. Additional tools that can help in maintaining your herd’s heat levels are fans, shade and sprinklers.

2. Feeding Management. Making management changes can improve intake and milk yield for your herd.• Increase nutrient density of the ration to offset lower feed intakes. This will help
in holding milk yields.
• Feed during the cooler times of the day to improve intake.
• Keep feed fresher by increasing the number of feedings per day and cleaning
bunks daily.
• Chopped hay versus long hay in the TMR can improve feed intake.
• Try to maintain a moist TMR, without exceeding 50-55% total moisture.

3. Mineral Supplementation. Cows’ need for sodium and potassium increases during heat stress due to mineral losses through sweat and urine. It's important to keep heat stress levels in a range of 1.5 to 1.7% for potassium, 0.4 to 0.6% for sodium, and 0.3 to 0.4% for magnesium. Keep in mind that decreasing dry matter intake does result in less trace mineral intake.

4. Forage, Grain and Ruminal Health. One of the most common recommendations during heat stress is to lower the forage and increase grain feeding. A higher grain ration is "cooler" due to less heat generated by the rumen to ferment grains compared to forage. The trick is to have sufficient physical effective fiber to promote rumen health. Yeast cultures have been shown to stimulate dry matter intakes, helping maintain performance and rumen health during heat stress.

Learn more here.

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