Protecting Cattle from Heat with Dietary Changes
During the hot summer months of Arizona, it is even more important to take steps to ensure your cattle are able to withstand the heat. With a few feeding changes, you can help t ensure your cattle are well-prepared for the heat.
Providing plenty of water is always important for your cattle, but it becomes even more crucial during the hotter months. In cooler weather, a 1,500 pound dairy cow that produces 80 pounds of milk per day may only need to drink an average of 25 gallons of water per day. During hotter weather, however, this same cow will need 33 gallons of water. The hotter it gets and the more milk your cow produces, the more water it will need. To help ensure your cows are getting enough water, you should take steps to decrease competition by ensuring there is at least three feet of space per cow in the pen along the water trough.
Making certain dietary changes can also help your cattle withstand the heat. You can decrease the heat produced by fermentation by decreasing concentrates and supplementing fats, which will also help to increase the energy density of the diet. You can also reduce fermentation heat by decreasing the forage content or feeding higher quality forages. Just be sure to avoid increasing fats to more than 6.5 percent of dry matter.