Energy balance during warm weather
Article four in the series of four articles on Energy & Metabolism
We are wrapping up our article series on energy and metabolism with this final installation. The fact that energy is important for your herd is probably clear to you, but how can you best address this during hot weather conditions?
Energy is very important for a cow and is the fuel for the body. The available energy is distributed based on priority processes. Therefore, if there is too little energy intake or energy is allocated to health challenges, there will be consequences. These include reduced performance in the areas of production, growth, fertility and immunity. In warm weather conditions, the risk of health challenges is always higher. We are here to help you and your herd through the high temperatures.
Effects of hot weather
Cows begin to experience heat stress at much lower temperatures than humans. Mild heat stress can begin at 72°F with 50% humidity. Even in temperatures as low as 65°F, high producing cows may experience heat stress because they eat more and tend to generate more heat. Heat stress is important to monitor and prevent, because it impacts animal health and ultimately costs you money.
Heat stress can affect animals at all stages of their life cycle:
- Calves born to cows that experienced heat stress late in their gestation are born with lower birth weights and impaired immune function.
- Heifers that have faced heat stress at any point may produce less milk for the first months of their lactation after freshening.
- Heat stressed lactating cows have reduced feed intake, lower milk production, and decreased pregnancy rates.
- Lameness, disease incidents, days open, and death rates all risk increasing in cows facing heat stress.
If a cow is impacted by heat, her rumen, claws, udder and fertility may all face the consequences. Officially, impact occurs around a THI (temperature and humidity index) of 68. If the THI exceeds 68, it becomes more difficult for a cow to cool down its body. In this situation, she likely uses all available energy to cool down her body. You can see this in a cow when she is panting, sweating, drooling, or breathing rapidly. You will also see that a cow will eat less to keep the temperature in the stomach as low as possible. After all, the metabolism makes the cow heat up.
Results after application of AHV Booster solution
In the previous articles we have discussed AHV Booster solutions and their use in managing energy balance. The graph below shows what results are expected, and when, after an AHV Booster solution is administered to a cow experiencing heat stress. Results will vary from cow to cow depending on her status and history, but this graph is a real life data from an AHV farmer:
Example of Booster Booster use:
Would you like to know more about this topic and how AHV can support you and your herd? Please fill in the form below or contact your local farm advisor directly.
Our AHV Booster Solutions:
AHV Booster Bolus
AHV Booster Powder
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Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Farm Advisor will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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