Summer heat can cause stress to most of your livestock, especially your dairy cows. If the outdoor temperature is too high, your cattle experience heat related stress and tend to decrease in performance. It causes even more problems for cattle if the night temperature doesn’t seem to cool off. Your animals may find it difficult to get rid of the heat that they build up throughout the day. Heat waves can affect both bull fertility and embryo implantation in females.
Livestock feed during summer needs to be high in nutrients and low in fiber. The natural reaction of your cattle to the heat is to reduce food intake because the digesting process increases body heat. Moreover, animals may drink up to 50% more water during the day, making them full so they have less room for food.
Choose your fodder carefully
Forage is the most natural feed for your livestock. Hay is the next best thing for your livestock during winter when your pasture does not contain sufficient forage and you are waiting for your pasture to grow grasses again. You would typically feed hay to your livestock during the winter and spring seasons. Feeding your cattle hay can run up your food costs and during the summer, dry hay can increase heat stress in animals. To reduce the stress on your cattle from summer heat, you need a high nutrition value and low fiber diet for your livestock. When grasses are young, they are more digestible and have more nutrition value in them. When the plants are full grown, they become more fibrous. You can get the best nutrition value and digestibility form grasses during the summer when the leaves are young and the stem to leaf ratio is less.
Growing micro-greens with DIY systems can be a profitable alternative to hay, which also take care of the summer heat by providing highly digestible, moist and tender grasses for your livestock, which is also high in nutrient value and low in fiber. Micro-greens help in reducing heat stress in livestock because it is easily absorbed by the animals and does not raise their body temperature during the digestion process.
You could easily setup your own fodder trays and grow micro-greens from seeds within a week. The process is very easy. Just wash your seeds and place them in a tray. The hydroponic system does not require any additional nutrition or anything else. You can also buy micro-green fodder from local farmers or Donoma Si Feed in the Box directly from us.
Maximize nutrition for cattle
Intensive pasture grazing can present challenges to your dairy cows during the hot summer. If you do not manage your pasture well, you will lose the nutrition value when you have the same pasture grasses harvested as hay or silage. When you have cows only on pasture based systems, it is important to supplement your cows with grains and a high carbohydrate, low fiber diet. Grazing cows involve more energy than non-grazing cows because they move more.
During the summer, your cattle will lose plenty of electrolytes such as nitrogen, magnesium and sodium. Supplementing your cattle with a solution of electrolytes can strengthen their immune system and help them fight disease during summer.
Always consult with your local authorities and make sure you maximize the pasture quality. A well managed pasture can provide better quality nutrition than any forages or hay. Make sure you vaccinate all your animals and quarantine the sick ones before they infect the healthy cows. Heat stress can weaken the immune system and limit an animal’s ability of immune responses.
P.S :- Please comeback and read more advice on animal care and sustainable livestock nutrition.
Source: Sustainable Livestock Nutrition