Over that last few days the NWF team has received more queries about heat stress and forage availability – lack of grass. Here is some advice we hope will be helpful.
- Milk yields can drop as much as 20% during heat stress and it can negatively impact fertility through embryonic loss and increased risk of mastitis.
- The rumen pH is affected in 2 ways: 1) DMI decreases which reduces the amount of saliva production and 2) Heat stress stimulates slobbering which reduces the amount of saliva reaching the rumen.
- Emerging evidence suggest that calves from prepartum heat- stressed cows have compromised passive immunity and impaired immune function.
- WATER: consumption can increase by 30%. Ensure clean, fresh water with good access, adequate trough space and ensure flow rates can keep up with demand.
- To maintain optimal rumen function, adding supplements such as a buffer or yeast can help. Increase density of feed, to compensate for lower intakes. Also ensure feed is palatable to encourage intakes.
- Shade and cooling systems: Sprinklers and fans are effective when cows are exposed with heat stress.
- Building and herd management are key to reducing outbreaks. Stocking rates and ventilation are often forgotten about.
- High risk animals; transition or sick cows are typically more affect due to their immune response. Encouraging water and feed intakes are critical!!
- If farms have good housing with good ventilation, consider bringing cows in at the hottest part of the day (11 till 3).
- Supplements such as Ultra Buf, Opti Rumen and NWF Farm Paks.
- NWF diets contain Cell Shield®, an anti-oxidant designed to optimise production and cattle health. It supports and regenerates vitamin E within the cow’s system, helping improve immune response.
- Forage extender/ Silage saver blend is available (Sugar beet, soya hulls, wheatfeed, wheat distillers, PK, maize sugar and rolled wheat). Contact your local NWF Sales Specialist or call 0800 756 2787 for full specification.
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