Moderate to high environmental temperatures and high humidity have the potential to significantly impact the productivity, health and fertility of dairy cows. This page is intended to provide a better understanding of the challenge of controlling heat stress for dairy farmers. Always consult your own veterinary surgeon for diagnosis and advice.
On this page:
Heat stress in cows is caused by a a moderate to high temperature in combination with high humidity. At temperatures above 22ºC cows are unable to dissipate their body heat effectively. This results in reduced feed intake, reduced milk production, decreased immunity and poor fertility. Heat stress can occur both indoors and outdoors. How do you support your cows during and after periods of heat stress? OmniGen can help you.
“Since introducing OmniGen into their diet, my cows have been much better able to deal with heat stress. Even during extended periods of excessively hot weather they eat more and there has been a noticeable decrease in cases of illness, vet costs and vet visits.”
The effects of hot, humid weather can be exacerbated by poor ventilation in cattle sheds, a lack of shade in grazing pastures and insufficient access to fresh water.
The Temperature Humidity Index (THI) accounts for the combined effects of temperature and humidity and is a useful and easy way of assessing the risk of heat stress.
The table below illustrates the impact of temperature and humidity on the severity of heat stress.
Source: National Animal Diseases Information Services
The performance of cows suffering from heat stress can be significantly impacted: they will consume less (in particular less roughage) and as a result, the rumen will function less efficiently to the point that rumen acidosis may occur. Heat stress can also have a negative impact on the cows’ immune systems.
In a hot and humid cattle shed, the number of bacteria increases and therefore so does the risk of infection. This in turn results in an increased risk of diseases such as mastitis and hoof problems. Cow fertility can also suffer due to heat stress.
You cannot do much about the weather, but you can certainly take measures to improve the living environment for your cows.
OmniGen can help to alleviate the effects of heat stress by supporting the immune system of dairy cows. Research has shown lower body temperatures and respiration rates in heat stressed cows fed OmniGen, and higher feed intake and milk production. When you start feeding OmniGen to your cows on time and at the right moment, they may be better able to deal with and recover faster from heat stress.
If you’d like to find out more about how we could help you to optimise your herd’s performance, please submit your telephone number to request a callback. We’ll call you within three working days to set a date for a telephone or face-to-face meeting to discuss the following:
We’ll work with you to understand your herd’s current status and to identify areas for improvement.
We’ll recommend where improvements can be made and how our products can unlock your herd’s full potential.
We’ll carry out a detailed review to make sure the changes we’ve put in place are working effectively and, where necessary, provide additional support and advice to enable your herd to continue to improve.