Cool Cows the hot topic

With the heat of summer already bearing down on the region it was only fitting that an increase in warmer weather patterns and the effect of high temperatures on cows were the hot topics at the recent Young Dairy Network Cool Cows workshop.

Facilitated by Murray Dairy, 15 farm workers and service providers attended the specialised workshop, which provided an opportunity to hear from Luke Shelley from the Bureau of Meteorology and Dr Kristy DiGiacomo from the University of Melbourne.

Luke gave an insight into the region’s climate and the changes that have occurred over the past 30 years and touched on the predicted trends moving forward.

Luke said, “The most important message I pass on to dairy farmers is that it is now more important to know you will need to manage heat stress in cows more often and for longer periods of time due to lasting heatwaves.

“The trends we are seeing indicate that the number of days the region experiences heatwaves is increasing, in some cases up to a week,” Luke said.

Kristy DiGiacomo spoke about the physiological and metabolic adaptations that occur in cows exposed to heat stress and provided a summary of some key practices that can be used on-farm to reduce some of the negative production and health consequences associated with summer heat stress.

Kristy said, “To assist in reducing the effects of heat stress on your cows research suggests utilising a combination of amelioration methods or treatments and to really think about the whole system you have in place.

“The effects of heat stress can be long lasting and induces a complex set of adaptations in the cows, including a reduction in milk production and fertility. Doing all you can to reduce heat stress is vitally important,” Kristy said.

Watch the video of the Murray Dairy Cool Cows event, Weather Patterns and Heat Stress in Cows, featuring presentations from Luke Shelley and Kristy DiGiacomo at

For more information on the Cool Cows Project and managing heat stress in cows, download the Cool Cows Booklet

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