Beef Producers Reminded to Set and Check Heat Mitigation Strategies

Iowa State University extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell reminds beef producers to prepare for possibilities of heat stress


AMES, Iowa -- Summer is here and the temperatures are starting to increase. A cool spring that felt good to some has left many cattle with remnants of a winter hair coat and not adapted to warmer weather. Grant Dewell, extension beef veterinarian at Iowa State University, reminds producers that for these animals, the increasing temperature will be an unwelcome change.

Temperatures are expected to reach mid- to upper 90s across Iowa this weekend, June 10 - 11. Although cattle should be able to tolerate this heat, it's a good reminder that more is yet to come and a cool spring may turn to a hot dry summer.

Dewell said this early heat event is a good opportunity to make sure that producer mitigation strategies will be functional for the rest of the summer. The Iowa Beef Center website, www.iowabeefcener.org , has information and details on proper heat abatement strategies such as shade and sprinklers.

"Also, pay close attention to cattle this weekend as the rapid change in temperature may catch some at-risk cattle (cattle at end of feeding period, cattle with previous respiratory disease and cattle that have not shed out) dealing with excessive heat stress," said Dewell.

For more information, consult a 4-page publication by Dewell,  'Heat Stress in Beef Cattle,' which is available as a free download and follow the USDA ARS 7-day heat stress forecast.