Shade trees boost farm pro­duc­tion

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

tem­per­a­ture recorded dur­ing the trial was 31.6 de­grees Cel­sius.

Mean daily tem­per­a­ture ranged from 14-24 deg and the night tem­per­a­ture av­er­aged 14 deg.

‘‘Nev­er­the­less, the av­er­age max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture was 10 deg higher in full sun than in the shade. The tem­per­a­ture read­ing from the cow’s back fre­quently ex­ceeded 50 deg in both groups from 2-3pm,’’ he said.

Cows with shade made good use of it dur­ing the day and mo­tion sen­sors showed that as the mid­day peak ap­proached cows grazed closer to the trees.

‘‘The great­est reve­la­tion was cows with shade still did some graz­ing in the pe­riod of peak tem­per­a­ture. Be­tween 3-6pm, they grazed more than no-shade cows and, over­all, grazed 35 min­utes longer per day.’’

Cows with no shade spent more time ly­ing down dur­ing the heat of the day and suf­fered more heat load­ing, but both groups drank with the same fre­quency.

Ru­men tem­per­a­ture of­ten rose to 40-42 de­grees at which time the cow had to have a drink. That in­di­cated heat stress.

‘‘This was not seen in the af­ter­noon, but more typ­i­cally from 9pm to mid­night fol­low­ing the in­ges­tion of their big­gest feed of the day from 4pm un­til sun­set.’’

Plant­ing trees not only pro­vided shade but also soil sta­bil­i­sa­tion in hill coun­try, ex­tra in­come and added aes­thetic value. Bet­teridge sug­gested cre­at­ing a ‘‘mag­net’’ to draw stock away from camp­ing close to the mar­gins of streams so both fae­cal nu­tri­ents and bac­te­rial con­tam­i­nants were less read­ily trans­ferred to the wa­ter.

‘‘If trees are avail­able then an­i­mals will al­ways seek shel­ter for at least some of the time when the mid­day sun is hot.’’

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