With prolonged and extreme heat and humidity, South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven verified to us yesterday that he had received reports of between 1200 and 1500 head of cattle dying due to heat stress in the state yesterday. All these deaths have all been in feedlots and that number could likely climb. He says that a lot of folks aren’t likely reporting numbers yet as they try to care for the other animals
As far as how hot or humid it needs to be before you amp up your precautionary tactics, he recommended information on the topic from the USDA.
Dr. Oedokoven says that the other thing you can do in those cattle-feeding situations is to feed later in the day. He says that the digestive process produces a lot of heat, so if you feed them later in the day, they’re producing that heat when it’s cooler. Again in those feeder situations, he offered the options of sprinkler systems, wetting down mounds and providing shade. That shade, as well as making sure that there is enough water, he says is also great tips for folks with cow/calf operations.
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