Cows need to stay hydrated, seek shelter from the midday sun and even wear sunscreen when temperatures rise.
Arms dealers across the county will be making sure their herds stay comfortable during this exceptional heatwave, with high temperatures expected to reach 32C on Monday.
Dairy farmer Peter Hynes spoke about the importance of keeping your cattle in the sun just like we do as they can suffer from heat stress.
“The sun really affects cattle, especially show calves and heifers, because they are clipped and have no protection from the sun,” he said.
“They’re more prone to sunburn so we use sunscreen on them, but we also use a tent when we’re at shows so they can stand underneath to escape the sun.
“Over the weekend we now have to watch how the sun is affecting us. That goes for animals too, and you don’t want them to get into distress.”
Mr Hynes explained that putting sunscreen on a cow is very similar to putting sunscreen on a human.
“We use the sunscreen spray on the cattle, we apply it to the more sensitive areas and it would be the same as applying it ourselves, we would repeat it about 3 times a day.”
“We would arrange for the cows to be in more sheltered paddocks so they get at least some shade from the trees and you will find that as the sun moves during the day the cows move around the edge of the field and stay in The shade.”
Sun stress is something all farmers want to avoid when protecting their animals from high temperatures as it can lead to serious complications.
“Heat stress can be a serious problem, you will see misting systems on dairy farms a lot more in the UK because they get more exposure to the extreme heat than we do, but they generally have big fans in the milking parlor blowing cold air over it, the cows and I I think we have to look at this in good time because heat stress can lead to abortions in cows, among other things.”
He stressed that there are a number of precautions farmers can take when preparing their animals for the summer days, but one very important one is to keep livestock hydrated.
“The most important thing is to make sure they have water throughout the day and night because dehydration is scary. If we get warm weather in the next few years where we get extreme heat in Ireland we’ll have to consider putting in a fog system.
“Here the cows would come into the milking parlor and while we were collecting from the cows, if we had a mist system that sprayed cold water over the cows, it would cool them down and lower their body temperature.”
Ahead of the good weather, Mr Hynes said he is also checking the weather forecast to know what action needs to be taken to keep his cows comfortable as temperatures rise.
“You always have to look at the weather forecast to see which days we need to place cows in specific paddocks.”
“It’s about looking at animals from the same perspective as ourselves and considering how we feel in extreme heat, we stay hydrated, we use sunscreen and equally try to get out of the really strong midday sun and get in a bit of shade, so we have to keep in mind that you have to do the same for the animals, it’s really easy enough.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/temperatures-are-far-from-friesian-but-cows-can-wear-sun-cream-too-41844768.html The temperatures are anything but “Frisian” – but cows can also wear sunscreen