While many people head to the beach to cool off during this heat wave, one group also suffers as a result of the high temperatures.
Dairy cows are particularly sensitive to heat due to their internal body temperatures already being so warm. Dairy farmer and Executive Director of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Shelley Mayer, says the heat actually causes the animals stress and can impact production.
When cows get too warm, they tend to eat less which causes the drop in production. Mayer said “Any time a cow is uncomfortable or not in her ideal setting, the first thing that’s going to happen is that they’re not going to produce as much milk.” Keeping dairy cows cool in the summer is an important part of managing a dairy farm, according to Mayer. Modern barns, fans and sprinklers are several ways to help keep temperatures down and production up.
While the quantity of the milk is affected, Mayer said the quality isn’t necessarily at risk. The only change, which is more of a result of feed than high temperature, could be less butter fat in milk.