The recent hot weather present challenges to keeping cattle healthy and on feed. Great Plains Livestock Consulting Inc. offers these suggestions 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.

  • 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%) in intake, this may not be necessary. Move cattle back to the finisher diet when intake has leveled off.
  • Increase water space (there should be 2 inches of water space/head), keep waterers cleaned, and the recharge rate should be adequate.
  • Increase intakes of corn by no more than 1.5 pound/hd/day as-fed.
  • Put shades up if possible.
  • Provide sprinkles; sprinkler drops should be big enough to wet them to the hide.
  • Increase bunk space.
  • Provide salt in the diet to encourage water intake.
  • 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.

For more information and an article on feedlot heat stress, visit