Hot weather is just around the corner, if it’s not already starting to rear its ugly head in your part of the country. As we head into this time of year the biggest mistake you can make is to be unprepared, says Martha Baker, dairy nutrition specialist with Land O’Lakes Purina Feed.
“This past fall when you turned the sprinklers and fans off, everything probably worked just fine. But that doesn’t mean everything will work fine when you need it,” she says. Baker shares the following tips to be prepared and proactive:
- Clean and service the fans. Take time to make sure the fans turn on and off at the correct times and/or temperatures.
- Look at the nozzles and soakers. Ensure they turn on when you want them to, but also make sure enough water comes through when and where you want it too. Double check that you don’t have any broken water lines.
- Consider doing a practice run with both your sprinklers and fans to make sure everything is in working order and you don’t have any surprises.
- Start thinking about and discussing changing feeding times. Instead of dropping the majority of feed in the morning, consider dropping it in the afternoon. Baker notes that a cow’s body temperature will peak in the early morning hours therefore cows won’t eat as much in the morning when feed is typically dropped. Shifting the time when feed is made available to the cow can help maintain feed intakes.
- Evaluate whether a total mixed ration (TMR) stabilizer is needed to reduce secondary fermentation of the feed.
- Be diligent about bunk management and do not pull more feed off the pile than needed.
- Expand the amount of water trough space available to the cows, if possible. Adding temporary water storage can be an option to increase water availability; water cannot be a limiting factor.
Each of these suggestions is a very basic thing to do, but people tend to forget the basics and look for more technical answers to beat the heat, explains Baker. “Getting the basics right can go a long way in preventing heat stress.”
For more information, contact your local Land O’Lakes Purina Feed representative or go to: www.lolfeed.com.