Angus cattle in a feedlotWith intense heat well over 100 degrees sweeping the U.S., cattle become more vulnerable to the effects of heat stress. And it’s not just dependent on the heat, as high humidity plays a factor in the level of stress cattle endure. A heatwave in Kansas recently took out an estimated 10,000 head of cattle across multiple feedlots, many of which were close to going to processors. While cooler nighttime temperatures can help minimize the effects of heat stress, it can take 4 to 6 hours to dissipate the heat accumulated during the day. That makes having a summer heat stress plan crucial to your operation.

Here are a few tips to help your herd combat the effects of heat stress this summer:

>> Provide ample access to shade in places animals frequently stand, including feed bunks, waterers and resting areas
>> Make palatable drinking water available in multiple areas
>> Ensure water is clean, which means regularly cleaning waterers
>> Use overnight sprinklers to cool off pen floors
>> Consider a feed management strategy that includes supplemental nutrients, such as chromium, in the diet

Read more on the effects of heat stress in cattle.