As the temperatures warm up, there are several issues that come up every year that I want to remind everyone of.
Water Availability and Cleanliness
- Water consumption goes up 50-100% during the summer months. Water tanks need to be scrubbed once a week with a brush and soap and rinsed very well. Along with providing enough space, it is important that the water tanks are clean. This is to control both the bacteria count and algae. In warm temperatures E.coli doubles every 20 minutes, so the bacteria can get out of hand quickly if those water tanks aren’t clean.
- First, make sure the colostrum is immediately getting in the refrigerator or freezer. If it’s not cooled after harvest within a couple hours there will be tremendous bacteria counts in that colostrum. Second, pay special attention to all the calf feeding equipment, making sure they are cleaned and disinfected properly, as the baby calves are very susceptible to bacteria on the equipment.
- The flies are having a good year. We’ve had a lot of moisture and warm weather. It’s not too late to use an integrated approach to control those flies. Grab the spray and knock the adults down and get fly traps. There are traps available for both house flies and stable flies. Bait works very well to attract and kill house flies. The important thing to remember is to use multiple tools to control flies.
- When the animal’s body temperature rises during the day it doesn’t actually decrease until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. Even though we’ve cooled off at night, the animals have not. So make sure you do all vaccinations and animal handling in the early morning hours, not the evening hours. Also, animals tend to eat more in the early morning hours during the summer so make sure there is fresh feed available at the end of the day. (Don’t forget to check the young calves.)
- Cows tend to stand more in the summer because of flies and heat. Keep your footbaths running regularly and keep stalls as comfortable as possible.
Finally, I hope you’re enjoying the wonderful summer weather. Make sure to take some time off to relax and have fun with your family and friends. We look forward to helping you with any summer challenges your dairy operation might have.