Eliminating cold stress on beef cows
The unpredictability of weather can impact cattle farmers’ success substantially. According to the Cattle Network, cold stress dictates the energy requirements of cattle. In many instances, meeting the higher nutrient needs during lower temperatures requires higher-quality feed, which can cost more money.
The impact of cold stress on cattle
According to iGrow, a South Dakota State University affiliate, cold weather means cattle need more energy to ensure they remain healthy and comfortable. While cattle can adapt to short-term changes in temperatures, in the long term, cold stress can impact breeding performance and health.
The actual necessary intake of energy increases by as much as 30 percent due to cold stress, according to the Wisconsin Beef Information Center.
Dealing with low temperatures and inclement weather
Cold weather can have serious consequences on the herd. When temperatures dip, feed younger and smaller cows separately from the rest of the herd to ensure they get enough food. When young cows do not have the appropriate amount of nutrients, there may be poor colostrum and poor conception rates.
Farmers and ranchers should also schedule feedings in the late afternoon or early evening as heat production reaches its highest level about 4 to 6 hours after eating. By waiting to feed cattle later, these animals can produce more heat during the night, when temperatures are typically the lowest.
Once farmers or ranchers have developed a feeding schedule, it is critical they stick to it as much as possible, even during winter storms.
Select bedding carefully
Bedding can have a substantial impact on the comfort of the herd, and by using proper material individuals can help reduce cold stress. When temperatures drop, increase the amount of clean bedding used to keep livestock comfortable during freezing weather conditions.
Wood chips, straw, hay and corn stocks are commonly used bedding materials for cattle. Monitoring the bedding regularly during colder weather is critical. Farmers and ranchers must check for moisture, feces and manure. These elements can negatively impact cattle’s ability to insulate themselves. In addition, failing to maintain hygiene of these animals can increase the risk of bacteria breeding and illness developing.
Invest in proper shelter
According to the Wisconsin Beef Information Center, one of the best ways to help cattle deal with extreme weather conditions is by providing appropriate shelter for the herd. Owners of cattle must monitor the structure that the animals depend on to discourage the development of wet, cold and muddy conditions. Leaks or condensation could lead to extreme cold stress and even disease.
Winkler Structures offers an affordable and resilient solution that farmers and ranchers can depend on when temperatures drop. With a canvas structure from Winkler Structures, customers can quickly erect a fabric building for their cattle in as little as three to five days. For the owners of cattle who need to provide appropriate shelter for their livestock before winter weather rolls in, this is an especially appealing solution.
In addition, Winkler Structures uses tensioned fabric which is capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions. From snow to wind and rain, these fabric buildings have demonstrated their durability even after more than 20 years.
After the weather warms up in the springtime, individuals can deconstruct and store the building as their needs change.
For farmers and ranchers looking to cut down on the impact cold stress has on their cattle, implementing a proper feeding schedule, providing appropriate bedding and erecting a protective building can bolster their production and the health of their herd.