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Hot Temperatures Can Impact Milk Production

HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB) — When it is hot, we tell you how important it is to be safe when outside, but the same goes for your pets and for farmers, it means extra care for the herds.

Cows are sluggish on these hot summer days, just like we are, but it isn’t easy to keep them cool

“Our’s are black and white, so they are out in the sun and they absorb more heat. Cows can’t sweat, so they use their tails they best they can,” says Beth Cook of Cook’s Farm in Hadley.

They also pant & breathe heavy to try relieving heat, but their best bet is to just keep them out of the sun.

Many of the cows here at Cook’s Farm are inside barns that have fans circulating the air and others pack side by side to get some space in the shade.

Having enough water is key.

“Hose them. If we hose them, while the water is evaporating, they’re cooling, but we can’t do that all the time,” Cook adds.

Of course, the animal’s health is the main concern, but the prolonged hot temperatures also impact businesses and us directly.

Overheated cows tend to eat less and feel heat stress, all of which cause them to produce less milk.

“They are down 20 percent of milk. Eight and a half gallons a day. Now, they are only making 7 gallons.”

And when a large number of cows produce less milk, the rule of supply and demand takes over and dairy products can get pricier.

Farmers in Hadley are doing what they can to prevent that from happening.

They can’t control the heat, but they are doing what they can do keep their animals as comfortable as possible

Normal body temperature for a cow is about 101 degrees, so farmers should make sure it doesn’t get too much higher than that, and it’s a win-win for everyone.

When a cow is most comfortable, it performs the best.

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