Pressure : 29.87 in
Dewpoint : 63.0 °
Wind : Southeast
Heat and humidity have veterinarians reminding cattlemen to take precautions
When the temperature starts to climb, humans head to the pool or the nearest air conditioner, but that's not an option for cattle.
"If the temperature is elevated, the humidity is elevated such as the wind goes down like it does sometimes at night, it can be critical enough that we will lose cattle because of it," said Dr. Douglas Schwenka, veterinarian with the Hastings Animal Clinic.
In fact, thousands of cattle die each year because of the elevated temperatures.
"Heat stress in cattle is when their body temperature gets elevated," Schwenka said, adding that during the summer months heat stress can become common.
"Hot, humid days the cattle are consuming a high energy diet and that energy produces internal heat, and then they also have the external heat from the sun," Schwenka said.
Add the cows black hide into the mix and the situation can become deadly.
"We probably have a couple calls each year where they actually lose a significant number of animals because of heat stress," Schwenka said.
Heat stress in cattle is on the decline, though, thanks to better education on the effects of the heat.
"We don't see it probably as much as we use to because more of the producers are becoming educated and understand that it is a problem," Schwenka said.
He said take precautions to provide cattle with some shade or cool them with sprinklers.
Some farmers are even helping their livestock adapt to extreme heat by installing monoslope buildings-open-sided structures with an angled roof that can reduce temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees and allow better survival rates.
So far, there have been no reports of heat related deaths to cattle.
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