Heat Mitigation Awareness and Strategies for Beef Producers

Iowa State Extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell has this reminder for beef producers to prepare for extreme heat conditions.

AMES, Iowa –- Summer is here and the temperatures are starting to increase. After a cool spring that may feel good to some, but many cattle that have not adapted to warmer weather still have remnants of a winter hair coat. To those animals, the increasing temperature will be an unwelcome change.

Temperatures are expected to reach mid- to upper 90’s across Iowa on Saturday and Sunday. Although cattle should be able to tolerate this heat, it’s a good reminder that more is yet to come and a cool spring may turn to a hot dry summer.

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.

Also, pay close attention to cattle this weekend as the rapid change in temperature may catch some at-risk cattle (cattle at end of feeding period, cattle with previous respiratory disease and cattle that have not shed out) dealing with excessive heat stress.

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)