After the rare heat event that killed thousands of cattle in Kansas, feedlot producers are even more keenly aware of heat stress and its impact on herds. Couple intense heat with humidity, and cattle are vulnerable to the adverse effects. A Kansas State University Extension beef cattle veterinarian advises cattle producers to prepare themselves for future heat events. Advance monitoring is a crucial part of the preparation, and an online heat stress outlook can help producers prepare mitigation strategies well in advance.

Variability in how cattle manage heat can also show potential for trouble. Checking for cattle that have not shed their winter coats is essential, as is understanding herd health before going into a heat event. During a heat event, bringing additional clean water to the feed yard is critical, as is bringing in straw to help mitigate floor temperature by about 25 degrees. Sprinklers can also help cool the pen floor. Creating opportunities for shade and unblocked wind drastically improves animal comfort, as well.

Read more on strategies to mitigate heat stress here.