Act now to minimise performance loss to heat stress this summer

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Length: 101 words; <1 minutes

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With heat stress capable of reducing feed intake, butterfats and milk yields even at 20°C, changes to rations and herd management are essential to maintain milk output.

Heat stress is more common in the UK than many realise, with direct sunlight and high humidity – often caused by high stocking densities or poor ventilation – significantly increasing the threat even at moderate temperatures.

Be watchful for symptoms, including reduced feed intake and production, plus increased respiration rate. Maximise ventilation and shade, minimise exposure to direct sunlight and high humidity, plus increase ration energy density and palatability to counter lower feed intake.

Key facts & figures:

  • Even at 20°C heat stress can cut milk yields by up to 20%

  • Watch for cows with respiration rates higher than normal 26-50 breaths/min

  • Collecting yards are high risk areas for heat stress due to stocking density

  • Feed high quality forages or high energy moist feeds like Traffordgold

  • Adding Vistacell or Acid Buf will help reduce acidosis risk

  • Use protected fats like Butterfat Extra to raise ration energy density

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