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The effects of temperature stress can severely impact general cow health.

Increases in mastitis cases, fall lameness, metabolic issues, and respiratory issues are costly to deal with and severely impact cow performance. Temperature stress is often the culprit at the root of these issues. Imagine what preventing them could look like. The team at Core Cool Systems has created a solution that proactively manipulates the elements in the barn to maintain cow core body temperature. Using variable airspeed and a fine-timed mist adjusted to the barn's temperature-humidity index to keep cows feeling comfortable and cool regardless of temperature swings and heat events. 

What do the experts say…

According to OMAFRA - Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA), also known as chronic or sub-clinical acidosis, is a well-recognized digestive disorder that is an increasing health problem in most dairy herds. Results from field studies indicate a high prevalence of SARA in high-producing dairy herds as producers respond to the demands for increased milk production with higher grain, lower fibre diets that maximize energy intake during early lactation. Dairy herds experiencing SARA will have decreased milk production efficiency, impaired cow health, and high rates of involuntary culling.

Environmental mastitis and summer heat can cause a dollar drain in your herd, but the effect of both can be reduced. The level of mastitis and somatic cell counts rise as temperature and humidity levels move upward. Somatic cells are elevated in response to environmental stress - such as high summer temperatures - and it may take weeks or months for them to decrease. Environmental mastitis increases during this time because of the increased likelihood of teat end exposure to bacteria. Cattle are physically more stressed during the summer.

According to DHI research and results - Heat stress is a physiological response to extreme environmental heat such as heatwaves. Heat stress can result in mortality in dairy cows when extreme heat is rapidly changing and has a long duration. As a result of climate change, heatwaves, which are defined as 3 days of temperatures of 32 °C or above, are an increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomenon in Southern Ontario. Heatwaves are increasing the risk for on-farm dairy cow mortality in Southern Ontario.

During a heatwave, the average total number of on-farm dairy cow deaths registered with DHI across Southern Ontario was 94 deaths per 3-day period. The average is thus approximately 1 death per 30 farms. Deaths during all heatwaves followed a similar spatial pattern to the density of dairy farms and the distribution of heat stress in Southern Ontario during a heatwave. As a result, on-farm dairy cow deaths most frequently occurred in the southwestern portion of Ontario or the central and northeastern areas. Most cows were 3 years old at the time of death, and the mean age of cows at the time of on-farm death was 5 years. Cows ranged in age from 1 year to 15 years at the time of death. Holstein-Friesian represented 94 % of on-farm dairy cow deaths, and similarly, 94 % of the dairy cow population in Southern Ontario is Holstein-Friesian. Of all farms included in the study, 229 farms reported only 1 death over the 27 days of the entire study period. The maximum number of deaths on a single farm during a heatwave was 4. Farms included in this investigation ranged from 22 cows to 1,268 cows, while deaths were most frequently reported on farms with 51–100 cows.

University of Wisconsin veterinarian Nigel Cook says, "Worldwide, about 23% of dairy cattle experience lameness issues, with three types of hoof lesions causing most of those problems. Prevention efforts for the top three lesions could have a significant impact on dairy welfare and performance."

Dr. Cook goes on to say, "Heat stress plays a key role in cattle behaviour related to lameness. In hot conditions, cows tend to accumulate heat while lying and cool down when they stand. Rest time can drop by four hours per day during a six-day heatwave, elevating the risk of lameness. Air movement in the stalls helps cows lose heat and facilitates rest during hot weather. Cook recommends positioning fans over all rows of stalls. “With proper management,” Cook says, research shows dairies can achieve high milk production while minimizing lameness."

A professional hoof trimmer from Western Canada says, " the four hooves of a cow can’t take standing on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. She’s already dealing with waiting times before milking, eating, etc., and the hot weather might tip the scales towards lameness problems." Cows need to be cooled and enticed to lay in their stalls. Evaporative cooling focused above their stalls can have amazing results in decreasing the instances of fall lameness. Fall Lameness can be a result of summer heat stress.

Lameness is a major issue because of heat stress.  When cows get, hot instinct tells them to do two things 1. STOP EATING – rumination creates a lot of body heat.  2. STAND and PANT. To pant, a cow must stand. Standing for long periods of time causes more stress and pressure on hooves which creates hoof health issues in the fall.  Bunk line soaker systems offer cooling relief but increase the standing time, increasing the incidence of fall lameness.  Cooling in the beds entices cows to lie down, which is exactly where we want them. Using research information from the Department of Agriculture in Manitoba to develop this portion of the cost calculator.

What can Core Cool Systems do to help you prevent the damaging effects of temperature stress?

Core Cool is a complete formula that limits stress caused by ambient air temperature on dairy cattle.  It does this by maintaining core body temperature. Monitoring the THI in the barn or holding area and adjusting itself automatically to suit the conditions.  Keeping the cow in her thermal comfort zone is the best way to prevent temperature stress's detrimental effects. By proactively maintaining core body temperature, the damaging effects of temperature stress can be minimized. Core Cool Systems does this using a fraction of the energy and water of other systems on the market.

Customer Testimonial - This customer has seen a huge improvement in cattle health on his farm.

Metabolic issues (like Ruminal Acidosis, ketosis, twisted stomach and milk fever) just don’t happen anymore. Metabolically we don’t have any issues anymore. After installing the Core Cool system, the late pregnant and early lactation cows are healthy and performing very well. This is a significant improvement and has had a great impact on our operation.

Our somatic cell count has stayed where it always was prior to installing the Core Cool (CowKühlerZ) system. The addition of the fine droplets over the stalls has had no effect on our somatic cell count. The droplets evaporate quickly, and the stalls don’t get wet. The cows are lying in their stalls where we want them.

We have had a significant improvement in our instance of Fall Lameness. We used to treat about 10% of our hearing, which’s down significantly to about 3%. That’s a benefit that we weren’t expecting, but that can definitely be attributed directly to the Core Cool (CowKühlerZ) system.

Preventing Heat Stress has had a ripple effect on our operations. The difference wasn’t immediately noticeable, but over the course of a few years, they become very apparent. It’s a full circle. The cows are more comfortable, they are performing better, and we are a more successful operation because of our decision to go with  Core Cools CowKühlerZ System.

A farmer near Ottawa ON

In Conclusion

Preventing the impacts of temperature stress can have a major impact on your herd's health and well-being.  You can make every day feel like a cool day for your cows with a system by Core Cool. 

If you would like to speak to a representative and run your numbers through the "Cost of Temperature Stress" calculator, call 1-844-GET-KUHL or email info@corecoolsystems.com


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