Our cows are dignified ladies who like to keep their cool in more ways than one. Bred in cooler climes than Australia, Holstein Friesians start to feel the heat once the mercury climbs over 25 degrees Celsius.
We’ve been really busy preparing the farm to help them deal with hot summer days:
- planting thousands of trees for shade
- installing 4 kilometres of large capacity water pipes and 17 massive water troughs. Milking cows can drink up to 250 litres each on a hot day or 20 litres in a minute!
- putting up sprinklers in the dairy yard to offer a cool shower while they wait to be milked and
- adding salt, minerals and zinc to their diets.
I also select the paddock for the day with a keen eye on the forecast. Today is pretty uncomfortable, so they’ve been sent to a paddock ringed with trees and will graze a more open paddock tonight.
Cool cows are happy, healthy cows who make more milk, suffer fewer illnesses, carry pregnancies better and are nicer to work alongside! Dairy research body, Dairy Australia, has done lots of work on heat stress in dairy cows and you can access lots of useful info at the Cool Cows website.