Profits can evaporate when the weather turns hot. St-Pierre et al. (2003) calculated annual losses of $897 million for the dairy industry in the U.S. due to hot weather even when economically optimal heat abatement systems were used. This loss was based on a milk price of $13/cwt (very low compared to current prices), and amounts to almost $100 per cow per year.
The analysis included effects of heat stress on dry matter intake, milk production, reproduction, culling, and death of both young stock and adult cows. In addition, they considered three heat abatement systems and chose the economically optimal system for each state: fans or forced ventilation, fans and sprinklers, or high-pressure evaporative cooling. Annual losses per cow in several key dairy states included:1
Temperatures above 77° F force cows to use energy to cool themselves through panting, energy that would otherwise go toward milk production and reproduction. Cattle also eat less often and do so when it’s cooler, but consume more at each feeding. Ration sorting also occurs in conjunction with a higher consumption rate, and favors concentrated components. This can lead to rumen acidosis or SARA (sub-acute rumen acidosis).
High-producing cows are more sensitive to heat because of their high feed intakes. When temperatures exceed 90° F, dry matter intake starts to drop (8-12%) and milk production losses of 20-30% occur. These losses may exceed 10-25 pounds per day.2 It is imperative to maintain intake in order to minimize these production losses.
Direct-fed microbial products can help aid digestion, improve feed utilization and keep dry matter intake up during hot weather. An evaluation of six trials feeding Generator™ Direct Fed Microbial to cows experiencing heat effects showed a 4% average improvement in production compared to control cows.3 Trial participants also reported improved fat test.
Bio-Vet DFMs - including Generator™ ULTRA, ELITE and D - contain yeast, which produce enzymes and B vitamins and maintain intake during hot weather. Supplementing the daily ration with Generator™ Direct Fed Microbials will assist rumen fermentation, reduce susceptibility to acidosis, and help cows maintain appetite and milk production during hot summer days.
Hot Weather Management Products
Product characteristics: Bio-Vet’s proprietary blend of propionibacteria: P63 uses lactic acid, P169 for improved propionate production (energy) from feed substrates, purified digestive enzymes and colonizing intestinal lactic acid producing bacteria.
Application: 21 days pre-calving to 100 - 150 days in lactation
Product characteristics: Rumen colonizing propionibacteria shown to use lactic acid, colonizing intestinal lactic acid bacteria, digestive enzymes.
Application: Entire lactation feed ½ to one ounce per head per day
Product characteristics: High levels of propionibacteria shown to utilize lactic acid, colonizing intestinal lactic acid producing bacteria, purified digestive enzymes. Concentrated formula available in re-sealable foil pouches.
Application: Entire lactation feed 2 – 4 grams per head per day
1 St-Pierre, N.R., B. Cobanov, and G. Schnitkey. 2003. Economic losses from heat stress by U.S. livestock industries. J. Dairy Sci. 86:(E. Suppl.):E52-77.
2 “Reducing Heat Stress for Dairy Cattle,” Authors: Gerald M. Jones and Charles C. Stallings, Professors and Extension Dairy Scientists, Department of Dairy Science, Virginia Tech.
3 Data on file Bio-Vet, Inc.
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