Making sure you have enough water and shade are the best ways to prevent heat stress in your livestock this summer.
Shepparton Veterinary Clinic vet Riana Fitzpatrick said making sure troughs were up-to-date was the most important thing.
‘‘Check your livestock always have access to water. If you have the ability for sprinklers or evaporative cooling in the dairy, that would help as well,’’ she said.
Dr Fitzpatrick said careful placement of the livestock on the farm was also helpful.
‘‘Put them in a place where you can check them regularly to make sure none are distressed,’’ she said.
If any of your livestock do go down with heat stress, Dr Fitzpatrick said the vet should be the first port of call.
‘‘If any go down, they probably can’t get back up again, so having portable shade and bringing water to them (is critical),’’ she said. ‘‘The best thing to do is get veterinary attention.
‘‘We have a farm vet available out of hours and on public holidays for emergencies.’’
Dairy Australia’s Cool Cows website provides some handy tips on how to manage your cattle during the hotter months.
‘‘As the heat intensifies, you need to monitor how your cows are coping and the weather. Count your cows’ breathing rate and use the Temperature Humidity Index (THI). These tools should enable you to sidestep the problems associated with meltdown events, ramping your responses up or down as required,’’ the website read.
Things to consider:
■changes to milking times;
■access to cool drinking water;
■changes to paddock rotation;
■developing a summer herd nutrition program; and
■altering mating management.