Consider changing cattle feeding patterns during extreme heat

An extension beef veterinarian encourages cattle producers to consider changing feed schedules during extreme heat.

Grant Dewell with Iowa State University says ruminant animals like cows generate heat when eating.

“We all generate heat when we digest stuff, but cattle and other ruminants produce a lot of heat when that fermentation process goes on. So one thing we can recommend is switching our feeding patterns during heat events so that the heat generated from digestion occurs more towards the evening when it’s starting to cool off.”

He tells Brownfield if a steer is fed at eight in the morning, ruminant temperature will peak at around noon.

“Just when it’s getting hot. But if I feed him at four or five o’clock, that ruminant temperature is going to peak at eight (or) nine o’clock, and hopefully it’s cooling off a little bit and lets those cattle dissipate that heat a lot better.”

Dewell also discourages producers from processing or loading cattle when it is hot.

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