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HEAT STRESS

AVOIDING HEAT STRESS DURING

THE SUMMER MONTHS

PROVIDING A COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR CATTLE IS IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY DURING THE WARMER MONTHS

By Aly McClure

D

uring the summer months, it is important to pay attention to our environment, from guarding against pests to protecting our cattle from heat stress, raising farm animals is a full-time commitment. To avoid crisis situations, it’s always a good idea to have a best practice plan in place and to evaluate the history of your area for situations that indicate the potential for heat stress. Every area of the country battles short-term weather conditions - it’s how you handle those conditions that matters. A lot of people use the terms climate and weather interchangeably, this, however, is incorrect. Each of our communities and farms is affected by short-term weather events. Their long-term sustainability is affected by climate and climate variability caused by natural positioning and earth rotation. For example, dessert is a climate, windy with a high of 95 is the current weather. Your weather is also indicative of your local climate. Cattle born and raised in certain climates become resilient to the local

weather patterns, but during the extreme weather seasons, specifically January-February, and July-August, it is important to evaluate potential stress situations daily. You can do this during the summer by paying attention to the heat index. Remember, though, that dark-hided and finished cattle are more susceptible to heat stress than lighter colored and weighted cattle. The Cattle Comfort Advisor is a heat index that evaluates the weather conditions across the country and determines the potential for heat

stress. The values do not represent exact temperature; they are a way to measure the heat and cold levels an animal is being exposed to ranging -20 (cold Danger) to +120 (Heat Danger.) Cattle are the most comfortable when the index range falls between 15 and 85. When the range begins to creep over the 85 mark that means it is time to start preparing and watching for heat stress, even changing your schedule to work animals during the coolest parts of the day. You can find an active map that is updated with the current index hourly at, www.cattlecomfort.mesonet.us. Cattle are the most comfortable when the outdoor temperatures hang around 40-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on body condition, hide color, and hair length they do very well in this ideal temperature range. As the temperature begins to rise, they become increasingly * Continued on page 46

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American

June 2018

www.americancattlemen.com

American Cattlemen June 2018  
American Cattlemen June 2018