Managing Heat Stress Across Your Farm

Heat stress can be a significant cause of economic loss on the farm during the warmer months of the year. Excessive heat, humidity, drought, and over grazing can take a toll on your farm at many levels. Heat equates to stress on your animals, your crops, and your labor force (you). To successfully manage the heat of summer it’s important to understand the basics of what heat does to you, your livestock and your forages. Heat stress on cool season grasses Heat stress, particularly in climates suited for cool season grasses can have significant negative impacts on forage production. As the name suggests, they are well suited to these cooler parts of the growing season. Cool, season grasses grow best between 60-75°F while warm season grasses prefer temperatures in the 80-95°F range. During the hottest parts of the summer cool season grasses become much less effective forage producers. As the weather gets warmer, the soil temperature increases. As the night temperatures grow higher this problem expands. As the intensity of the summer heat grows rates of root maturation and root death increases, new growth of roots slows then stops. Under heat stress, fewer new leafs are produced on cool season grasses and the ones that do form are shorter and narrower. As soil temperatures exceed 104°F for extended periods, many cool season grasses simply begin to die. Lift that mower height, whether it's mechanic or munchin

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