Home > News > Watch Your Herd to See if Cooling Strategies are Working

Dairy barn with cows eatingWith record-breaking heat waves across the U.S. in 2023, cattle producers must ask themselves if current heat-mitigation strategies are enough. How? Ask the cows. Professors at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison say observing how the herd copes in hot weather is the most direct indicator of how well they’re being cooled.

Behaviorally, cows experiencing heat stress are lethargic and will seek shade and water. Observing this behavior over time is essential for assessing the efficacy of the cooling system. Panting and elevated respiratory rates are the next step, as producers should watch for drooling and panting with the tongue hanging out. At this point, the cows are under a lot of stress.

Read more on evaluating heat-mitigation systems here.


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