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Animal Care in Summer Weather

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

September 15, 2014
Animal Care in Summer Weather

Share this article with your employees so that everyone can help keeps cows and calves comfortable and healthy this summer! 
The hot summer months can do a lot worse than make workers irritable and uncomfortable. Heat negatively affects cow performance in many ways. It can reduce fertility as well as decrease feed intake and milk production. Dairy cows can begin to feel mild heat stress when temperatures reach only 65 degrees, but relative humidity also plays a role. When humidity is higher, cows begin to experience heat stress at a lower temperature. Signs of heat stress include increased respiration and rectal temperature, panting, foaming at the mouth and bunching.
What can you do?
Make sure the cows have enough water. Keep waterers clean and full of fresh water so that cows are encouraged to drink more.
Keep an eye on cow cooling devices? fans and sprinklers should be in good working condition in order to maximize cow cooling.
Keep stalls bedded and clean to entice cows to lie down and not bunch in the allies.
Try to leave cows alone during the hottest times of the day. If possible, complete herd work in the early morning when it is still cool.
Extra precautions need to be taken with calves as well. 
Chill colostrum quickly using an ice bath or bottles of ice in the colostrum, then refrigerate or freeze. Hot weather allows pathogens to reproduce quickly, so even a short time at room temperature can drastically reduce colostrum quality.
Monitor grain pails closely and replace grain before it becomes soggy, moldy, or otherwise undesirable to calves. The fats in calf grains can go bad very quickly when it?s hot, leading to a rancid smell that turns calves off from it.
Calves, too, need to have fresh water provided at all times. Scouring calves or calves off feed should receive electrolytes to prevent dehydration.
Don?t skimp on cleanliness! Bedding should be kept fresh and dry to control flies. Rinse and wash feeding equipment that comes into contact with milk in order to prevent the buildup of biofilms- and bacteria.
For more information on calf care during summer months, visit the Calf Facts & Calving Ease pages at  











Upcoming Events

Agritourism Workshops Monthly! - U-Pick Agritourism Operations: IN's and Out's

December 18, 2023

Are you thinking of starting an agritourism business or are you currently operating one?

Join our monthly lunch-hour, workshop virtual series and learn how to grow your agritourism business!

Each session will focus on specific topic to help aspiring agritourism entrepreneurs grow their knowledge and profit through this exciting on-farm business.

Cost: Free to attend, but registration required!

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January 4, 2024
Henrietta, NY

Participant Registration for the 2024 Corn Congress OPEN NOW! - January 4th 2024

NOW OFFERING 3.5 DEC Recertification CREDITS

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Registration link coming soon!

Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell PRO-DAIRY are excited to announce our Whole Farm Efficiency webinar series. This 10-week webinar series will be offered online, free of charge to participants. 

It will take place Tuesdays from 12pm-1pm EST, Jan 9 through March 12, 2024. 

Topics for each week include precision feeding, labor management, feed management, labor on-boarding, milk quality, transition period, maximizing return on colostrum, targeted reproduction programs, reproductive evaluation, and replacements.

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