Just as people find some foods more appealing during the summer, diet plays a role in an animal's ability to cope with heat and humidity. Ohio State University Extension beef specialist Stephen Boyles offers several suggestions for managing feed and water to avoid heat stress.

Plenty of cool, clean drinking water is critical for an animal to maintain a normal internal body temperature. Run above-ground water lines through shady areas or tall grass to keep water as cool as possible.

Dr. Boyles notes that producers refer to "hot" feeds and "cool" feeds, usually in reference to their energy values. But, he notes, corn and other concentrates regarded as "hot" feeds actually contribute less to the heat of fermentation or digestion than hay. High-quality forage produces less heat of fermentation than low quality forage. Excess protein during heat stress, however, could be detrimental due to the high energy demand for metabolizing and excreting excess nitrogen.

Increased water consumption, he notes, increases excretion of urine and loss of minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. Be sure to provide free-choice trace mineral salt in locations where animals will consume it during hot weather.