High temperatures affect the nutrition, fertility and well-being of animals. Heat stress leads to lower farm performance. The economic losses caused by the lower consumption of feed can even lead to the death of the animal.
The main cause is the loss of thermoregulation in cows, they lose the balance between the generation of metabolic heat and its dissipation to the environment. In this article we teach you tools to detect early signs of heat stress in your cattle.
Signs of heat stress in cattle are rapid, shallow breathing, open-nosed panting, and salivation.
The most effective tool to detect it is the temperature and humidity index (ITH): it is calculated from the ambient temperature and the relative humidity of the air (table2) and also, by the respiratory rate and body temperature (table2).
In dairy cows, excess heat causes large economic losses due to its consequences on production and reproduction, derived from the negative effects it has on the digestive metabolism, the immune system, the endocrine system and the behavior of these animals. Therefore, it is essential to adopt measures of various kinds both to reduce the heat production of the cows and to increase their rate of heat removal.
The main measure is to reduce body heat , if the rectal temperature of cattle is> 41 ° C with profuse panting, tongue and neck extended the animal is at imminent risk of heat shock. If the rectal temperature is> 42 ˚ C with deep and slow breathing the animal is at risk of death.
- Provide shade and protection from direct solar radiation in feeding areas.
- Cold and clean water in places close to livestock.
- Use of fans and water sprinklers in the feeder and tunnel areas.
- Improve antiparasitic measures.
- Avoid vaccinations or castrations in peak hours of heat.
- Incorporate foods that reduce heat (fatty acids and grains of corn or barley).
- Modify the hours of feeding so as not to coincide with the digestion of food with high temperatures.