UP UNTIL now local dairy farmers and their cows have enjoyed mercifully good conditions with plenty of grass and regular showers.
But after a phantom early break the bureau is predicting a long, hot, dry autumn. And we saw the start of that last week.
Even if you are drying cows off early it is important to look after them during the hot days with plenty of water and shade, if possible.
The modern dairy cow is similar to a factory, consuming and processing large quantities of raw materials (grass, feed and water) and producing a large volume of high quality product (milk).
It is essential that the flow of these raw materials (nutrients) not be reduced or interrupted if milk yield of the cow is to be maintained.
Hot and humid environmental conditions stress the lactating dairy cow and reduce intake of the nutrients necessary to support milk yield and body maintenance.
In Gippsland weather conditions are sufficiently hot and humid to reduce performance of dairy cows for several months each year.
This is very costly to production, but is a great opportunity to improve the end result if the farmer successfully meets the challenge presented by heat stress.
The primary factors that cause heat stress in dairy cows are high environmental temperatures and high relative humidity.
In addition, radiant energy from the sun contributes to stress if cows are not properly shaded.
So keep the feed and water up to the cows, lactating or dry, and provide a shade option.
Not every farmer can take his cows for a swim but as these cows at Outtrim showed this week, it’s something they quite enjoy on a hot day.