Avoid losing money during heat waves due to loss of performance and health issues
1. Consequences of heat stress in ruminants
Unlike other animals, cattle have great difficulty in dissipating their heat loads efficiently, as they do not sweat much and rely on respiration to cool down. Moreover, the fermentation processes that take place in the rumen generate additional heat that the animal has to dissipate. Heat stress refers to the inability of the body to maintain a normal temperature under conditions of high temperature and humidity. An unbalance occurs between the metabolic heat produced inside an animal’s body and its dissipation to the surroundings. Animals increase their respiratory rate and consume energy to dissipate excess heat, which contributes to a significant increase in their maintenance requirements. Heat stress can be evaluated through the Temperature Humidity Index (THI). The higher the THI is, the more cattle need to fight the heat.