AMES, Iowa – Summer temperatures have arrived with 90+ temperature expected across Iowa this weekend. Cattle may still be acclimating to summer temperatures and may experience some heat stress issues. Breeding cows and bulls may have decreased breeding activity and fertility which can severely impact the early breeding season. Make sure cows and bulls have access to fresh water and shade to minimize heat impact.
Feedlot cattle, especially those closer to finish, are more susceptible to heat stress. Evaluate your cattle in the morning and again in the afternoon to make sure they are coping with the heat. Make sure cattle have access to plenty of fresh water and provide shade or sprinklers if possible. This early heat event is a good opportunity to make sure that your mitigation strategies will be functional for the rest of the summer. The Iowa Beef Center website has information and details on proper heat abatement strategies such as shade and sprinklers.
Check out these additional resources:
Heat Stress in Beef Cattle 4-page publication by Dewell, available as free download
USDA ARS 7-day heat stress forecast
USDA smartphone app provides forecasts of weather conditions that can trigger heat stress in cattle. Free download from Google Play (Android) and the App Store (Apple devices)