Dairy farmers work to keep cows safe during extreme heat - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Dairy farmers work to keep cows safe during extreme heat

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For farmers this extreme heat can be just as hard on cattle as it is on their crops.

Farmers told 13 NEWS spoke with are using misters and watching their cows around the clock because they know this heat can have a devastating affect on their lives.

"Anytime the temperature gets above 70 degrees actually, cows start feeling heat stress and so you add 35 more degrees with a heat index on top of that, those cows are not having a good day."

Dairy farmer Brent Pollard is already seeing a loss in the amount of milk his cows produce.

"We'd like to produce 9 to 10 gallons per cow, per day and this time of year we're producing about 7 gallons per cow per day. Our cows, if it wasn't this temperature would be producing in the 10 gallon range."

Producing less milk is one way cows can try to beat the heat. But it can also hurt their farmer's bottom line. That's why many are relying on water and watchful eyes to keep their cows healthy.

"The big thing is keeping their body temperature down. We have fans going, the misters, even our baby calves we have fans going on them just whatever we can to keep them cool and comfortable," said dairy farmer Tammy Wakeley.

The heat is just as dangerous for cows as it is for humans. They can suffer from heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and it can even affect their long term ability to reproduce.

"Their cycles get messed up with the heat, so we'll be struggling with fertility. It will be a few months before we get the cows cycling again and bred again and back for reproduction."

Extreme heat like this can also be very dangerous for pregnant cows who can lose their babies if their body temperature reaches 105.

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