If you haven’t considered cooling your dry cows, maybe you should, says Bruno Amaral, dairy nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition.

The effects of heat stress on dry cows were evaluated in three consecutive research trials at the University of Florida. Cows were imposed to heat stress (shade, no fans and no sprinklers) or cooling (shade, fans and sprinklers) from dry off until calving. Upon calving, all cows were moved into a free-stall barn with sprinklers and fans. The studies ran until 30 weeks in lactation.

Results from these studies showed calves born from heat-stressed cows weighed, on average, 17 pounds less.

Cows that were cooled during the dry period produced an average of 14 pounds more milk in the first 30 weeks post-calving than heat-stressed cows. Milk production responses ranged from 10.3 pounds to 20.5 pounds of additional milk for the three studies.

“If you haven’t considered cooling the dry cows on your operation, you may be missing milk production potential,” says Amaral.