Heat and humidity are a part of Florida’s climate for a significant portion of the year, so heat stress in beef cattle is always a consideration that producers need to consider.  High heat coupled with high humidity makes it hard for cattle to cool down, and this creates stress in the animals. It’s hardest on cattle when nighttime temperatures don’t cool off. It’s well documented that stressed beef cattle gain less weight, have weaker immune systems and have lower reproductive health.

beef cattleFlorida’s beef cattle breeds are genetically more adapted to heat and humidity, but no animal is impervious to The Sunshine State’s high heat and humidity. Animals that are attempting to regulate their body temperatures will have an increased rate of respiration, an increased heart rate and will exhibit panting. Even though animals are expending extra energy, producers may also notice their feed intake will decline as well.

Take these steps, provided by a Drover’s Network article, to head off heat stress in your herd:

  • Offer adequate shade.
  • Ensure pastured beef cattle have a high-quality water supply available.
  • Offer penned animals at least 2 inches of linear water trough space. Add temporary troughs during hot and humid weather.
  • Make sure water lines are in working order and will keep troughs full during the hottest points of the day.
  • Feed in afternoon or evening to allow digestion to occur during night’s cooler temperatures and give the lungs more capacity during the heat of the day.
  • Improve air movement wherever possible.
  • Control flies that add to stress.
  • Add light-hued bedding like straw or corn stalks to reduce ground temperatures.
  • Cool pen grounds or bedding with sprinklers or hoses during the hottest times of the day.
  • Try to reduce other areas of stress, such as through handling, working, introducing new environments, etc.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.