Keep your stock cool

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS -

We are reach­ing the height of sum­mer and heat stress in live­stock can be­come a ma­jor is­sue both for pro­duc­tion lev­els and an­i­mal wel­fare.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria se­nior vet­eri­nary of­fi­cer Robert Suter said the ideal tem­per­a­ture range for cat­tle is be­tween 5° C and 25° C, and for adult pigs just 18° C to 20 ° C.

‘‘Highly pro­duc­tive live­stock, such as dairy cows, are the an­i­mals most sen­si­tive to heat stress, and poul­try have been known to per­ish due to heat stress on hot days,’’ Dr Suter said. ‘‘As tem­per­a­tures rise, live­stock need to di­vert en­ergy away from their nor­mal pro­duc­tive func­tions, to try to keep them­selves cool.

‘‘This is done via heat loss through their skin sur­face and res­pi­ra­tory tract. Feed in­take is also re­duced and a de­crease in milk pro­duc­tion may also be ob­served.

‘‘Hu­mid­ity also plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in heat stress . . . the de­gree of heat stress in­creases as the rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity in­creases.’’

Heat stressed live­stock will seek out shade, drink more, eat less, stand rather than lie, pant, pro­duce less milk and be less fer­tile. Deaths can oc­cur due to heat stroke on hot days. Dr Suter said live­stock must have ac­cess to shade and cool drink­ing wa­ter and yard­ing and mov­ing live­stock should be done in the morn­ings.

More in­for­ma­tion: http:/ /go.vic.gov.au/vBkIfk

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