The time of year has arrived when the combination of high temperatures, elevated humidity, low wind speeds and high solar radiation put livestock at risk for heat stress. To help producers be aware of and understand weather conditions that could adversely affect livestock health, the resource section of www.kla.org has a link to daily heat stress maps from the National Weather Service. The maps estimate general stress level trends for livestock over the forecast period.
Veterinarians and animal scientists suggest steps to mitigate livestock heat stress include additional water access, removing winter windbreaks to increase airflow, providing shade, using light-colored bedding and incorporating feeding schedules that avoid the internal heat build-up animals experience with normal digestion. Avoiding intentional movement of animals is recommended as well.
Wetting pen surfaces and animals can be effective if done in a manner that doesn’t increase humidity. Using large droplets, not a fine mist, to saturate the hair coat is recommended for maximum cooling.