According to the USDA's Meat Animal Research Center, the heat situation for cattle in Iowa is expected to be in the "danger to emergency zone" for a couple of days this week.
They say heat stress is based on temperature, wind speed, humidity, and solar radiation.
"It's best that producers plan ahead so they can take quick action if those four factors put parts of Iowa in a high risk zone," says Matt Deppe, the CEO for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. "Compared to other animals, cattle rely on respiration more than sweating to cool down. Wind and cool nights can help, but when temperatures and humidity are high, producers must also consider other ways to keep their livestock comfortable," he said.
Iowa State University's Extension Beef Veterinarian, Dr. Grant Dewell recommends the following protective measures:
-Clean fresh water - consumption of water can double during extreme heat. Cattle need at least 2 gal./100 lbs/day during heat events. Additionally, make sure there is adequate room for cattle to drink and that supply lines can provide cool water fast enough.
-Shift to feeding a higher percentage of feed in the afternoon and consider lowering the energy content by 5%.
-Provide shade if possible. UV radiation is many times the critical factor for livestock losses due to heat stress.
-Ensure that there are no restrictions to air movement such as hay storage..
-If necessary begin sprinkling cattle with water if signs of heat stress are evident.
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