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How do I Manage Heat Stress in Livestock

With the hotter months of summer about to begin the livestock operators should be starting to plan pre-summer examination to reduce the risk of heat stress in their livestock.

Examine your feedlot environment & infrastructure pre-summer should include:

  • Ensure pens are clean as pen conditions play a very important role in reducing heat stress
  • Ensure strategies are in place for the first sign of heat stress & illness which leads to production losses
  • Water Tanks Upgrades & Maintenance. CHECK. Do you have water management plans in place. Do they comply with all land & water management regulations? Did you know during heat stress livestock will hangout around water troughs even when they are not drinking! This in turn blocks other livestock from getting the water they require. Making sure you have extra water tanks on hand will help to ensure all your livestock can get to the water as needed.
  • Shade Sails & Shade Systems. Do you have adequate shade systems in place. CHECK. Do you need a new shade sail system or replacement shade sails?
  • Location and orientation of the livestock shade structures:
    • Location of a livestock shade sails is most beneficial through the centre or slightly west of the centre of the pen. This insures maximum space for cattle during afternoon peak heat times.
    • Orientation should preferably be north/south to insure maximum use of shade as the sun moves through its axis.
    • Size of the shade sail area is approx 2m² per beast.
  • Ensure your insurance policies are up to date & are managed correctly. Are you adequately insured?
    • CHECK Are you covered when you are working on livestock or when the livestock are on properties, which are leased or being transported or driven?
    • CHECK Do you have the necessary insurance covers for employees & contractors
  • Machinery repairs, upgrades, cleaning & maintenance. CHECK machinery covers & rollover tarpaulins.
  • Health & Safety Checks. Have all risks been identified & minimised

Before the summer months your team should have an understanding of heat stress & excessive heat load & should have undertaken a certain amount of training so they can identify signs of heat stress.

As we all know a proactive approach to the management of heat stress is far more effective than a reactive response once a heat stress event has occurred!

Download our Free Livestock Shelter Guide which outlines the importance of shade for your cattle.