How to identify heat stress among livestock

Rural Exchange 28/01/2018

With unordinarily high temperatures plaguing the country for weeks, farmers must be extra cautious should the heat takes a toll on their animals.

Livestock, just like humans, can become physically overwhelmed by excess summer heat.

Paul Sharp, a consultant nutritionist from Seales Winslow, joined Rural Exchange to explain how farmers can identify signs of heat stress of livestock and minimise the effects.

It’s not as simple as identifying dangerous temperatures, explains Mr Sharp. Heat stress can be influenced by not only high temperatures, but with additional factors like humidity, wind, and access to shade.

“Once we get into the mid-30s, they are really under pressure,” he told the Rural Exchange hosts.

Add humidity to the equation and even lower temperatures can become dangerous for animals.

Subtle signs can indicate that the livestock are overheating, like if animals are seeking shade or stop eating.

“Really stressed animals start heaving,” said Mr Sharp, who explains that panting is one of the few ways livestock can attempt to cool off.

Mr Sharp reminds listeners that a healthy diet with salt and selenium “helps keep [livestock] healthy and better able to cope with that heat stress.”

Animal nutrition is a regular feature on REX, thanks to the experts at Seales Winslow. If you have any questions or want to find out more, visit their website.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.