Heat stress in cows – are your cows underperforming?

brown cow in field
While temperatures within the UK are not typically extreme, we do still experience significant swings in both temperature and humidity. Often, conditions can change within a matter of days. Though a wealth of research has now shed light upon the negative influence of high temperature, many farmers are still unaware of just how significant the impact is upon fertility.
For dairy cattle, the classic threshold at which heat stress affects performance is often quoted to be at a temperature-humidity index (THI) of 68, which, in the UK, would be 22°C. We are now aware that fertility can be affected when the THI exceeds 57, which would typically be just 14°C in the UK where relative humidity is typically 60%. Studies have shown that the swing from 14°C to 22°C can cause 20% of eligible cows in a year-round calving herd to slip a cycle. If temperature increases above this level, the effect on fertility is far greater. These same studies estimate that at temperatures of 27°C, now a relatively common occurrence in UK summers, the proportion of cows slipping a cycle can increase to 43%.
Though heat stress can be limited through utilising galebreakers to provide shade and through providing sufficient access to fresh water, we have another tool for your armoury. Equaliser CoolCow is a cooling rumen buffer that replaces the buffer within your herd ration throughout the summer.
CoolCow helps regulate core body temperature by hydrating the cow at a cellular level and by restoring the electrolyte balance. By cooling them down and maintaining rumen function, dry matter intakes don’t faulter. The aim is to keep cows comfortable and enable them to maintain their normal pattern of lying and eating so that production and well-being is maintained throughout the summer.
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