Heat stress in transition cows: An overlooked problem

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Hot weather brings about many risk factors that could negatively impact transition cows. 

Due to heat stress issues last summer, cows finally conceived in the cooler fall months. That translates into heavy calving periods during the hotter summer months this year. Is your labor force ready to handle the high calving rate and increased metabolic issues while still achieving your cow-management protocols?

“This is an area that can be easily overlooked on many dairy operations, but it’s important to make sure you have enough people in place to deal with the added problems that can result from heat stress,” says Rod Martin, dairy specialist and Vita Plus dairy technical services team member.

“Consider this example: In April, Dairy X had 35 cows calve and 20 percent of the cows (seven head) had to be examined or treated in some fashion. This was taken care of by one employee and the weather was very cow/people friendly,” Martin writes in a recent post at Vita Plus Dairy Performance. “Now in July, Dairy X will have 75 cows calve and 50 percent of the cows (37 head) will need to be examined or treated. Realistically, can this be done by the same single employee correctly, especially in light of the severely heat-stressed environment?”

It’s important to review your treatment protocols and current labor situation. It’s not too late to put in place a solid plan to deal with the heat. 

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Source: Vita Plus Dairy Performance, June 29, 2012



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