AMES, Iowa –- Cattle producers should take notice of temperatures increasing above normal highs for this time of year. After a cool spring that may feel good to some, many cattle that have not adapted to warmer weather still have remnants of a winter hair coat. To those animals, the increasing temperature will be an unwelcome change.
Temperatures are expected to reach mid- to upper 90’s across Iowa this week. Although cattle should be able to tolerate this heat, it's a good reminder that more is yet to come and a cool spring may turn to a hot, dry summer.
"This early heat event is a good opportunity to make sure that mitigation strategies will be functional for the rest of the summer," said Dr. Grant Dewell, extension beef veterinarian with Iowa State University. "Pay close attention to cattle this week as the rapid change in temperature may catch some at-risk cattle (cattle at end of feeding period, cattle with previous respiratory disease and cattle that have not shed out) dealing with excessive heat stress."
The Iowa Beef Center website has information and details on proper heat abatement strategies such as shade and sprinklers.
Check out this additional resource: Heat Stress in Beef Cattle 4-page publication by Dewell, available as free download.