Heat stress – know the signs

Heat stress – know the signs

The sharp rise in temperatures this weekend puts animals at risk of heat stress.

Over 22°C, cows struggle to effectively dissipate their body heat
so heat stress can occur much easier than expected in Ireland. This can negatively impact feed intake, milk production, fertility and general health.

Symptoms to watch for include

  • Increased respiration or panting
  • Increased water consumption – make sure your troughs can support the increased flow requirement
  • Decreased milk production
  • Sudden changes to milk components – both butterfat and protein drop
  • Reduced feed intakes – particularly reduced fibre intake meaning rumen function is impacted, and cows are at risk of acidosis
  • Cow behaviour changes – crowding together, seeking shade, restless and not inclined to lie down

Prevention is always better than cure

  • Check water troughs to ensure good flow and that they are clean, clear and fresh
  • Provide shade where possible – the grazing plan may need to be altered to facilitate this
  • If buffer feeding, then feed at night-time when its cooler
  • Avoid overcrowding in the collecting yard – if cows are grouped tightly in a small space, the temperature will rise
  • Use a rumen buffer and conditioner – Acid Buf and Vistacell should be fed to help maintain rumen health and function and to minimise the effects of stress on long term health and production

Talk to Specialist Nutrition today about how best to manage your stock through this period.


Specialist Nutrition | Moist Feed and Forage Specialists

Call 051 833071 or WhatsApp Amy on +353 87 408 1002