Preventing heat stress in dairy cows

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Cows eating hay in a barn with wooden and metal feeding barriers

With increasingly hot summers the risk for heat stress in dairy cows increases. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the negative effects on the cattle. In this blog post, we will discuss the measures that can be taken to prevent heat stress in cows.

Preparation to prevent heat stress

Preparation is key when it comes to preventing heat stress in cows. Before the summer heat arrives, take steps to increase the amount of water available for your herd and adjust diets and feeding schedules to maintain feed intake. Providing shade for cows is another measure that can help. Additionally, ensuring that there is proper ventilation and circulation in the barn is essential to prevent heat stress.

Ventilation and circulation

When it comes to ventilation, it's important to ensure that air can move freely through all parts of the barn. Natural ventilation can be supported by fans. By increasing the airflow, a wind chill effect can be created so cows are less likely to become bothered by the heat. A minimum air velocity of 2 m/s is essential to achieve this effect. Axial fans are commonly used for this purpose. They can provide a targeted airflow at a relatively high speed and are often placed behind the feeding fence or above the stalls to encourage cows to eat and lie down.

Active Cooling 

When temperatures are particularly high, it is especially important to actively cool the cows. In these cases additional cooling can be provided by wetting the cows and cool them with fans. However, it is important that the udders remain dry.

In conclusion, taking the necessary steps to prepare for and prevent heat stress in cows is crucial for maintaining their health and milk production. Proper ventilation, shade and water, diet, and monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in the barn are effective ways to prevent heat stress in cows.

Looking for more information? On our page on heat stress in dairy cows, you will find all our other info on this topic in one place.

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published on January 19, 2023

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