Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Dealing With Summer Grazing Stress

hot_cowThanks to Willie Gibson for sharing this helpful information!

Whether this is year one or twenty-one for your grazing system, this time of year provides serious management challenges.  The days are HOT, the flies are getting cranked up, and the livestock are ducking for cover by 10 am. Eyes are watering, sides are heaving, there’s not much grazing happening.  The humidity is an added problem.  And have you noticed that the water tubs are growing something other than water in them and the water temperature is rising too?  It all adds up to summer grazing stress. So how do you help your animals deal with these STRESSful conditions – and how do you keep your pastures in lush, vegetative, high yielding and high quality condition – under Summer-time Stress?

Check What’s Happening in Pasture

Monitoring may be even more critical now through August.  Without it pastures can ‘suddenly’ be all run-out one Monday morning, or ‘suddenly’ the milk tank drops 10 lbs per cow, or ‘suddenly’ several grazers have blind eyes. Here are some things you can do to make sure things stay positive in pasture:

  • Grazers love shade as much as we do!
    Grazers love shade as much as we do!

    Check the watering system including supply, cleanliness, and temperature every day.

  • Do your animals really have enough to eat? If you are not walking through your pastures then you really cannot tell what’s there – and it gets more deceiving as the season progresses.  Pastures that may look lush from afar may turn out to be dry and patchy when you walk through them.
  • Add new acreage, even if your grazing land is ‘holding up.  A piece of second cutting to graze is refreshing to the animals.  There are no manure or urine patches to avoid, and generally there are fewer flies.
  • Barn/shed cover with really good ventilation (i.e., tunnel), cool water, and clean/dry bedding is very helpful on certain afternoons.  It could be jus the thing that some milking herds need to maintain production.

This is the time of year when everything is going so fast you may think you don’t have time to do this.  But make the time.  Your animals’ immune systems are diminished under any stress, and heat stress is one of the worst, causing whole system trauma. If it does not last long, then the effects are kept low. Summer-time Stress is likely, but your management can keep it at bay and you and your grazing stock can enjoy some Summer-time Bliss!

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