Winning The Battle Against Heat Stress

Your nutritional strategy can help your cows beat the heat when on-farm management protocols aren’t enough.

Lactating dairy cows are prone to heat stress when the temperature humidity index (THI) rises above 68. A drop in milk production follows within 48 hours. While managing heat stress with on-farm protocols is necessary, nutritional solutions can also help mitigate the effects of heat stress.

Milking cows.

Heat Stress Strategies
There are a number of strategies used to combat the effects of heat stress including those listed to the right.

Air Movement. Ensure proper air movement and fan placement when barn temperatures exceed 65 degrees F.
Water Availability. Access to fresh drinking water and timed sprinkler systems over alleyways are crucial to combating heat stress.
Timely Feedings. To maximize intake, make sure fresh feed is available every evening during cooler nighttime temperatures.
TMR Savers. TMR savers, such as calcium propionate or other propionic acid-based products, can help reduce potential for yeast and mold growth, preserve feed, and enhance bunk life.
Nutritional Solutions. Inclusion of feed additives into current rations can help cows mitigate the physiological effects of heat stress.

Nutritional Solutions for Heat Stress
When looking at nutritional solutions, there are three major classes of
feed additives for mitigating heat stress including vasodilators (niacin, capsicum), electrolytes (potassium, sodium), and osmolytes. Though all three provide some alleviation to the effects of heat stress, there are some distinct differences between each reflected in the table below.

Our Nutritional Recommendations
Provimi recommends increasing energy and protein density of the ration to meet requirements when intake is diminished during heat stress, along with adding Promote® I.C.E.® into your feed strategy. Promote I.C.E. is a proprietary blend of key ingredients that includes an osmolyte and has been shown to help maintain milk production during heat stress. More importantly, cows fed Promote I.C.E. rebound better after the heat stress ends.

Promote I.C.E. should be added to the diet when nighttime temperatures stop dropping below 60º F and should be kept in the ration until summer is over or nighttime temperatures are consistently below 60º F.

For more information on heat abatement strategies and Provimi’s nutritional recommendations, contact your Northside Elevator Dairy Specialist today.

Maximize Fly Control on a Dairy With a Comprehensive Integrated Pest Management Program

There are numerous species of flies that can be a nuisance on a dairy operation. They not only act as an annoyance to animals and humans alike, but can also affect cow comfort, health and profitability. The two species of greatest concern for dairy producers are the house fly (Musca domestica), a disease vector, and the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans), a blood feeder. Studies have proven that when stable flies feed on the legs of cows, the result can be a reduction in milk production by as much as 20%. To protect the well being of their cattle and avoid lost production, dairy operators should implement a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to combat nuisance flies.

A successful IPM strategy must approach pest control through a combination of several complementary methods. To have a complete program, one should include several of the following tactics:

  • Improve cultural practices to reduce fly resting, feeding and breeding sites.
  • Use natural predators and parasites, such as parasitic wasps to destroy eggs that have been laid in organic matter on the dairy.
  • Incorporate various physical techniques, like fly traps and sticky tapes to remove adult flies that migrate from surrounding areas.
  • Use approved pesticides to spray or bait adult flies.
  • Utilize biological controls with a larvicide such as ClariFly® Larvicide to keep larvae developing in treated manure from ever becoming adult flies.

While there are no “single solutions” to provide a fly-free environment, it is possible to significantly reduce the use of pesticides by focusing on the “cultural” component of an IPM program. For best results on a dairy, operators should concentrate on typical problem areas such as: feed storage areas, calf rearing areas, cow and heifer housing facilities, milking areas and surrounding vegetation. Learn more at

Start the spring season off right by putting safety first!

  • Buckle Up — 40% of farm-related fatalities are tractor-related injuries.
  • Resist the temptation for riders.
  • Use safety lighting, markings and escort vehicles.
  • Make time for tune-up — keep equipment in good working order.
  • Protect yourself and others — Use the appropriate protective equipment like gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection.
  • Stay alert and get enough sleep — Sleep deprivation slows response time.
  • Pack a safety kit — Keep it in the truck or tractor cab.

Parts of this article were contributed by Provimi North America.

Heat Stress Article References:

University of Missouri Extension: How to Reduce Heat Stress in Dairy Cattle
Dairy Herd Management: Combating Heat Stress in Lactating Dairy Cows
Journal of Dairy Science: Effects of Heat-Stress on Production in Dairy Cattle

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