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Addressing heat stress in dairy cows: Strategies for well-being and productivity


In recent years, heat stress in dairy cows has become a topic of increasing interest for farmers, as it negatively affects the productivity and well-being of these animals. I would like to return to the topic by focusing on an article published a few years ago, which offers an in-depth perspective on the impact of heat stress on the milk performance of cows.


The article entitled "Impact of heat stress on lactational performance of dairy cows" was published by a group of researchers from the University of Georgia , USA, in the journal "Theriogenology" . The article provides an in-depth analysis of dairy cows' responses to heat stress and the consequences on their milk production.


I believe this article is of great interest to dairy farmers, as it provides valuable information on the interactions between climatic factors, milk production and animal welfare . Fully understanding how heat stress affects milk production can help you make informed decisions to improve animal welfare and productivity, even during periods of very high temperatures.


During hot weather, cows exhibit various responses that influence the heat balance between heat gain and loss and cause a reduction in productivity. Decreased milk production is the main recognized impact of heat stress on cows and leads to significant economic loss for dairy producers.




It has been observed that the reduction in milk production is negatively correlated with the temperature-humidity index above 68 , beyond which the cow's milk production is negatively affected by the temperature-humidity index or ambient temperature.

Furthermore, milk production is positively correlated with body temperature of cows subjected to evaporative cooling*, reflecting the positive relationship between metabolic heat production and milk production . ( *Evaporative cooling involves the use of devices such as showers or foggers that spray cool water onto animals or the surrounding environment. When water is sprayed on the skin, it absorbs excess body heat and begins to evaporate, turning into Water vapor: The evaporation of water absorbs heat from the animal's body, helping it to dissipate heat and reduce body temperature. Evaporative cooling can be used in combination with other heat-relieving measures, such as shading, fans and systems water cooling, in order to offer the cows a more comfortable environment and reduce heat stress ).


During the summer, food intake is positively correlated with milk production, and reduced intake explains at least half of the decrease in milk production caused by heat stress.


Although not entirely clear , the causes of reduced milk production due to heat stress may be multiple and include changes in metabolism , possible activation of the immune system as well as inflammation , changes in behavior , and alterations in the development and function of the mammary glands .


It is important to understand the factors that influence milk performance in cows under heat stress and better identify the mechanisms underlying reduced milk production. Heat-relieving measures, such as shading and evaporative cooling , are currently the most effective ways to minimize the negative impact of heat stress and should be implemented as a priority during the summer .

As global temperatures and milk production per animal increase , more intensive cooling approaches may need to be adopted.

In addition to heat containment measures, additional nutritional or management interventions may be needed to address heat stress in dairy cows. In this context, the use of specific nutritional supplements could be a useful strategy to support animal welfare and productivity during periods of high temperatures.


Nutritional supplements that could be considered include Happy vit Plus FEED and Echisan DRENCH .


Happy vit Plus FEED can be administered in the Unifeed and help provide functional nutrients to dairy cows during the summer period, helping to maintain an adequate nutritional balance.


For traditional barns , Echisan DRENCH is the appropriate choice to provide cows with targeted nutritional support to address the effects of heat stress.


Supplementing the diet of dairy cows with specific products such as Happy vit Plus FEED or Echisan DRENCH can help improve the cows' adaptation to unfavorable climatic conditions, supporting the immune system, reducing thermal stress and maintaining optimal milk production.



It is advisable to consult a veterinary expert or nutritionist to determine the right dosage and duration of administration of the supplements, taking into account the specific needs of your herd and environmental conditions. By adopting appropriate nutritional interventions , you can help improve the overall well-being of your dairy cows during periods of extreme heat .


It is also important to continue to study and address the issue of heat stress in dairy cows to ensure their health, well-being and productivity.





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