Keep your stock cool
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