High temperatures lead to hidden costs among your livestock
As we get deeper into summer months, the number of hot days is increasing. High temperatures affect all of the animals on your farm, including unborn calves. The consequences for the calf can later manifest in a milk production that is 16% lower than average.
A relatively short period of high temperatures in late pregnancy can dramatically affect the health, growth and eventual performance of dairy calves. It is crucial to effectively combat high temperatures, and keep dry cows comfortable to avoid negative effects on the calf. The calves of a cow that has not been affected by the hot weather are on average three kilograms heavier when they are born. In addition, they have a better immunity. This is because the colostrum from a cow who did not experience heat stress contains more antibodies and is better absorbed than the colostrum from a stressed cow. Calves from these cows also appear to absorb 43% more antibodies (IgGs) from the same colostrum than calves from non-cooled cows (Monteiro et al., 2016).
16% Increased milk production
Optimising the living environment during situations of warm temperature has a favourable effect on the mother and therefore also on the calf’s weight development. These calves grow on average 0.2 kg more per day until weaning and are then considerably heavier when they go off the milk. The loss to the end of the first lactation is more than twice as low. Milk production is also 16% higher than average. It has also been shown that calves from a cooled mother conceive more easily and at a younger age. It is therefore very important to provide your herd with the best possible temperature. Both for animal health and production on your dairy farm.
Cow’s appetite optimised despite hot weather
Ensuring optimal milk yield is one of the biggest challenges during situations where stress can be expected due to hot weather. Optimising living conditions during dry-off periods can boost milk production in the next lactation by an average of 4-5 litres. The cow loses less energy pumping blood through the skin. This blood can then be used in the udder for milk production and in the organs for energy absorption. A cow’s appetite is also improved when she is in a pleasant climate.
Optimal health of the liver
Optimum feed intake means that the cow receives sufficient energy and protein. The cow better maintains milk production and lactose content. In addition, the cow does not have to compensate for energy shortages, resulting in an optimum condition.
The AHV Booster Bolus optimises the energy balance by activating the cow’s metabolism (liver and rumen). It will help the liver to prevent fat breakdown. Graph 1 below shows the average rumination activity (rumination time, in minutes) of cows with and without a non-optimal energy balance, to x days after calving. These values have been validated based on research by Kaufman et al (2016).
Improve rumination activity with AHV Booster solutions
A test population of 25 cows, showing signs of a non-optimal energy balance, were given an AHV Booster Bolus. This solution was administered between day 7 and 8 after calving. The support of the AHV solution in starting the rumination activity is shown in the graph; the average rumination activity quickly rose to the average value for cows.
In addition to using AHV Booster solutions, here are some tips to keep your animals cool in the warm summer days:
- Provide them access to shade. This helps reduce the solar heat load and is a simple way to help keep your cows cool.
- Create air exchange. Ventilation and air movement, whether it is natural or mechanical (ie fans), helps move hot air away from the cows.
- Use water to get rid of body heat. Misters and sprinklers both contribute to evaporation and cooling the air around the cows.
- Offer a constant supply of drinking water. Hydration is important for temperature regulation and overall health and production.
Dairy farmer Niehof-Velthuis (The Netherlands):
“The AHV Booster Bolus is a really nice product and I like it. The Booster is fast and long-lasting, and is well absorbed by the cow. We see the milk production increase and that the cow starts eating more than ever. We have cows that recover quickly after a few days. We can clearly see these results in the data.”
Get in touch!
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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