Home' The Great Southern Star : January 4th 2017 Contents PAGE 24 - “THE STAR” Wednesday, January 4, 2017
NOW the weather is warming up, it is
a good time to think about the immedi-
ate actions that can be taken to minimise
heat stress in the herd.
There are severe consequences for heat-
stressed cows: decreased milk production, re-
duced feed intake, potential loss of body condi-
tion, mastitis, potential to not conceive or to abort,
and many other animal health related symptoms.
There are short and long-term risk manage-
ment practices that can be implemented to reduce
the impact of hot weather.
The Cool Cows program developed by Dairy
Australia offers a suite of resources, guiding you
to areas of your farm that can benefit from some
simple immediate actions.
If you know the day is going to be high risk
for heat stress, you can plan to change your daily
routine, getting cows milked and fed before 10am
in the morning and delaying afternoon milking
time to after 5pm.
This can make a big difference to cows coping
Think about how far you are asking the cows
to walk in the hottest part of the day (about 3pm)
and on extreme days, avoid walking the cows to
the dairy until after 4pm.
You may consider changing your paddock
rotation, keeping cows on a sacrifice paddock or
cool stand-off area.
Sprinklers provide a huge benefit to cows.
Suggestions are to have sprinklers that can op-
erate on a 15-minute cycle where the system is on
for one to three minutes and then remains turned
off until the commencement of the next cycle.
This allows enough time for cows to be wet
to the point that excess water does not drip down
the udders, as it is important to not increase the
risk of mastitis. You also don’t want extra water
contributing to the effluent stream.
You can hose down the collecting yard before
bringing in the cows. This will cool down the
concrete surface and will help to keep your cows
cooler. In combination with sprinklers, fans and
ventilation systems in the dairy also keep cows
During extreme hot weather, a cow will re-
duce her feed intake and try to consume most of
her feed in cooler parts of the day. This can com-
promise rumen function, causing a wider varia-
tion in rumen pH and a greater risk of ruminal
A diet that combines high-quality fibre with
increased energy and a high rate of buffers can
help minimise these effects.
For high-producing herds, it is even more im-
portant to manage diet and it would be worth dis-
cussing with your nutritionist other options like
slowly fermentable sources of starch, feeding
partial-mixed rations and fat supplementation.
During the cooler times of the year, some lon-
ger-term solutions can be implemented.
These include installing water troughs, shade
cloth over the dairy yard and a roof over the feed
pad, depending on the farm’s feeding system.
For the even longer term, you could plant trees
across the farm to provide shade, but ensure you
do this as part of your whole-farm plan.
Information from Agriculture Victoria.
By Sarah Vella
A STUDY tour to New Zealand in Feb-
ruary will give Stony Creek’s Denise
Jones an insight into the country’s dairy
The study tour is organised by the United
Dairyfarmers of Victoria and funded by the Gar-
diner Dairy Foundation.
As herd and shed manager for Peter and Cath-
erine Hanrahan’s dairy farm at Stony Creek, De-
nise said she wanted to learn about the resilience
of the New Zealand dairy industry.
She is also keen to learn more about staff re-
tention and managing on farm production, includ-
“I want to see how New Zealand farmers man-
age price fluctuations, while continuing to make
the industry appealing to young farmers and new-
comers,” she said.
“I also want to see how they use technology
Kiwis in focus
Denise to study NZ dairy industry
Chance to learn: Stony Creek herd and shed manager Denise Jones will head to New Zea-
land in February to take part in the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria annual study tour, to
learn more about the dairy industry.
to manage prices and climate conditions in a sus-
Denise has been on the Hanrahans’ farm for
12 months and has been involved in the industry
for 15 years in varying roles.
“I started out relief milking when I was 14 and
just loved it. I particularly love the cows and the
passion grew from there,” she said.
“The Hanrahans’ farm has provided me with an
opportunity to step it up a notch. It is a large, 900 cow
operation and I saw it as a chance for a challenge.”
Denise said the dairy industry in Australia needed
to work on becoming more appealing to younger
generations and newcomers.
“The industry needs to better market the broad
range of career paths that are available within it.
There are so many options, from on farm to pro-
cessing and agronomy,” she said.
“It needs to be marketed in a way that attracts
people in and shows them the huge breadth of op-
tions that are available to them.
“I don’t come from a dairying background,
but with hard work have got to where I am. It re-
ally is a great lifestyle, most of the time.”
After what has been a tumultuous year for the
Australian dairy industry, Denise said the indus-
try needed to convey positive news.
“Each business needs to know its margins and
improve within the industry. We need to manage
the one percenters better,” she said.
“On this farm, I am focused on building a
strong team environment with long term staff,
that is my one big thing.”
Cooling cows this summer
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