This week we had record breaking temperatures in the UK and this obviously had an effect on many things, including the dairy industry. As one of the main industries that we supply, we wanted to have a look at how the recent heatwave can affect dairy farmers in the UK.
Cows are sensitive to heat and as the temperatures rise they are affected by heat stress, they struggle to maintain their own body temperature and the stress they are under then leads to a lack of milk production.
They also become reluctant to lie on the warm grass and therefore stand for too long and grow abscesses which can lead to lameness. The humidity in the air brings its own problems causing illnesses and diseases mainly driven by parasites who thrive in the heat.
Droughts are a particular by-product of heatwaves. This of course is a major factor in dairy production as the grassland and grazing pastures dry out so the cows struggle to feed and get the nutrients they need.
The cows also need to drink more water to combat the heat and with droughts it isn’t as readily available, sometimes due to hosepipe bans to protect the dwindling water levels.
To withstand the effects of a heatwave dairy farmers need to keep an eye on the weather, act fast and prepare in advance for these adverse conditions. They need to provide shelter and shade for the cows so they need to be moved to the barns, and then supply them with as much water as allowed. In the shade of the barn they then in turn require adequate ventilation, the installation of fans to improve air movement and soakers or misters to cool them down.
Happy, comfortable dairy cows produce high-quality milk for their farmers. Once this enters the distribution network it is vital that the correct machinery is used including suitable conveyors.