Some areas of the country are moving into cooler fall weather, but heat stress can still be a problem in other areas. It’s also never too late for your feedlot clients to think about their heat stress plans for next summer which will be here before we know it.
Dan Thomson, DVM, PhD, Beef Cattle Institute, Kansas State University, says it’s important to look at the thermal heat index (THI) when evaluating feedlot cattle and heat stress. If the THI is above a certain level, Thomson says, “We don’t move or work cattle.”
However, you also have to look at the cattle that are already standing in the pens. “We also have to provide shade for them,” Thomson says.
Bedding can be instrumental in helping feedlot cattle cope with heat stress as the temperature on the bare ground is often much higher than the ambient temperature in the air. Thomson says one study showed on a 97°F day, the pen floor was 137°F. The addition of 6 inches of straw bedding brought the temperature of the pen floor down to 112°F.
“It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot more comfortable for those cattle,” he says.
Read more about heat stress here.