The recent, and upcoming, hot weather present challenges to keeping cattle healthy and on feed. Please review the following tips from Great Plains Livestock Consulting Inc. to help get cattle back on feed and reduce further performance loss. With cooler weather coming, the potential for digestive deads is increased as hungry cattle begin coming back to the bunk.
1) Cattle should be backed off one diet to limit metabolic heat load and aid in the prevention of acidosis. In lots that have not experienced cattle losses, or extreme reductions (more than 25 percent) in intake, this may not be necessary. Move cattle back to the finisher diet when intake has leveled off.
2) Increase water space; there should be 2 inches of water space/head, keep waterers cleaned, and the recharge rate should be adequate.
3) Increase intakes of corn by no more than 1.5 pounds/head/day As-Fed.
4) Put shades up if possible.
5) Provide sprinkles; sprinkler drops should be big enough to wet them to the hide.
6) Increase bunk space.
7) Line bunks with plastic or plug continuous bunks and fill with water.
8) Provide salt in the diet to encourage water intake.
9) These heat stress situations are why we promote feeding later in the afternoon. Increase feedings by at least once a day to help ease them back onto finishers.
Please call the Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. team at (402) 781-9378 with any questions regarding heat stress. Read an article on heat stress by Dr. Ki Fanning in the July/August 2008 GPLC, Inc. newsletter.