It's cold outside, but dairy farmers can prepare for the inevitable summer heat by attending a UC Cooperative Extension program Jan. 29 on managing cow comfort in hot weather. The free meeting, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon followed by lunch, will be at the Tulare County Agricultural Building, 4437 S. Laspina St., Tulare.
“Dairies suffer many losses during hot summer months,” said Alex Souza, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County. “Cows lose their appetite, milk production falls, fertility is down and feet problems are common during the heat of the summer.”
Feet problems result from cows' tendency to stand when they are hot, rather than lie down.
“Comfortable dairy cows will lie down 14 hours a day,” Souza said. “But when cows lie down, their temperature rises. If they can't tolerate the heat, they will stand. Too much standing is hard on their feet.”
The foot problems, lower rate of pregnancies and reduced milk production of summer can be alleviated with proper management. At the meeting, Souza will review programs, equipment and strategies that increase cow comfort during hot weather, including:
- The NOAA/NWS Western Region Heat Impact Level Project
- Assessing and improving animal welfare on the farm
- Soakers to cool cows: Can we reduce water use?
- Applied strategies to reduce heat stress in dairy herds
- Heat stress management on California dairies
- Interactions between milk production, heat stress and fertility
RSVP by calling (559) 684-3300 to be guaranteed lunch. The lunch is provided by Zinpro Performance Minerals.
Source: University of California