Summers in Connecticut can get hot and have us looking for cool escapes like swimming in a pool or enjoying our favorite ice cream. It is also a time that Connecticut’s dairy farms find refreshing ways to keep their cows safe and comfortable.
Simply put, happy cows produce more milk. Farmers are always looking for ways to care for their cows, while at the same time implement more sustainable practices. Here are 5 ways Connecticut dairy farmers help their cows beat the heat during the dog days of summer.
Some farms have misting systems that help lower core temperatures in cows. This also lowers the chance of heat stress. These misters can be found in barns or in outdoor facilities. Farmers will turn on the water sprayers to provide the option for the cows to be gently misted prior to being milked.
Fans and Ventilation
Fans are also a key tool for farmers to help lower the heat for their cows. Like misters, fans can also be operated by a thermostat to turn on automatically when temperatures warm up. Fans provide much needed ventilation inside barns and help to evaporate sweat on the cows, which also helps in cooling them.
A cow’s normal and natural body temperature ranges from 100 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than a human. Cows also drink lots of water which helps prevent heat exhaustion in the summer. On a hot day an adult cow can drink up to 50 gallons of water.
Lots of Shade
Dairy farmers will limit the time their cows are out in the pasture when the temperatures heat up and allow them access to barns, which provide shading from the hot sun. Temperatures in the shade can be 10-15 degrees cooler than out in the sun. Add in some fresh water, fans and misters, and cows in the barns enjoy substantially cooler temperatures.
When the temperatures reach their high in the summer months, cows can show specific signs that dairy farmers continuously monitor. One sign can be lower milk production. Another might be heavy breathing. On some Connecticut dairy farms, cows are fitted with a “fit bit-style” monitoring necklace, which gives farmers a great way for early detection of any heat-related issues. In addition, regular visits from a veterinarian is also a key way to maintain the health and comfort of dairy cows during the summer.
As you can see, farmer’s have many options to keep their cows cool in the summer. While these measures are extra important in the heat of the summer, taking care of their cows is a year-round focus for Connecticut’s dairy farmers, as it directly affects their health and their milk production.