As summer approaches, it's not too early to begin planning for hot, humid weather. Heat stress in pasture cattle can reduce breeding efficiency, milk production, feed intake, weight gains, and sometimes cause death, according to Ohio State University Extension beef specialist Stephen Boyles.

Dr. Boyles offers several suggestions for producers using management intensive grazing during periods of hot weather. One option, he says, is to rotate through fields at a more rapid rate. Taller grass tends to provide a cooler surface compared with pastures where cattle have grazed the forage to a shorter height. An additional benefit is that high quality forage produces less heat of fermentation than low quality forage. Another option is to rotate cattle in the evening. This might encourage them to eat and digest the fresh forage during the coolest part of the day, reducing the impact of internal heat produced by fermentation in the rumen. Another possible option, he adds, is to graze paddocks that allow access to the most shade during the heat of the day.