Recognizing Heat Stress in Dairy Cows

Feeding dairy cows at the University of Florida's Dairy Research Unit in Hague, Florida.  Bos taurus, dairy cattle, livestock, industry, DRU.  UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

In persistent hot, sunny and humid conditions, cows can become overheated and may not produce as well, or may experience health issues. This two-page fact sheet written by Izabelle Toledo and Geoffrey Dahl and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences lists the signs of heat stress in dairy cows.

How Are Cows Cooled on Dairy Farms in Florida?

Dairy cows being milked in a milking parlour at the Shenandoah Dairy Farm. Milking, milk production.

While hot and humid conditions cause grief for dairy producers, additional impacts of heat and humidity on the dairy cow are sometimes overlooked. These conditions and their associated losses in productivity pose a growing concern to dairy producers, as more frequent and severe fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, and droughts are predicted to occur in the United States. This new 4-page document discusses heat stress in the dairy industry, the Florida dairy heat stress abatement survey, and heat stress abatement for lactating cows, dry cows, and dairy calves. Written by Bethany Dado-Senn, Geoffrey E. Dahl, and Jimena Laporta, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, April 2019.

Economic Feasibility of Cooling Dry Cows: Findings and Spreadsheet

A cow in a stockade at a small dairy farm.

The negative effects of heat stress in lactating cows are well known, but only recent studies have explored those effects along with the full benefits of cooling dry cows. Recent work at the University of Florida has demonstrated the benefits of dry cow cooling on calf performance and cow health in the next lactation. This 5-page fact sheet discusses the economic losses from milk production due to heat stress, investment, utilities, maintenance, and feasibility analysis. Written by Fernanda Ferreira, Geoffrey Dahl, and Albert De Vries, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, March 2018.