Cattle in the heat

Heat Wave Hot For All

In the last few weeks the heat has been treacherous across the country. Here in Iowa, we were under heat advisory warnings for at least a week. As hot as it was for us, it was just as hot for our cattle.

Cattle are meant to be outside. Their bodies were made for all the elements and some were even bred to live better in certain conditions. Brahman cattle, for example, do great in the southern part of the country because they were bred to tolerate the heat better than any other breed of cattle.

Even though cattle aren’t meant to be outside, it doesn’t mean they were made to survive all conditions thrown their way. That’s where farmers come in to help make them comfortable and cool during the hot summer days. (Read here how we keep them warm in the winter months.)

Farmers Care for Cattle in the Heat

When it comes to making cattle comfortable in the heat, it doesn’t mean farmers bring them in their garages or homes, in the air conditioning. Here are some of the ways farmers help cattle stay cool without air conditioning.

  1. Misters — the sprinklers you used to run through as a kid are very similar to what farmers use to keep their cattle cool. Many cattle are in barns and even though they’re in the shade, it still gets warm. Misters blow a gentle mist (hence their name, misters) of water on the cattle. The cattle love this and truly is one of the best ways to keep them cool.
  2. Fans — many barns have fans that run on high speed to keep the air moving and a cool breeze over the cattle. Combined with the misters, the cattle are comfortable, cool and most likely, sleeping peacefully in the barn.
  3. Ponds — some cattle aren’t in barns, they’re out in the rangeland or pastures that don’t have a building in site. Many farmers and ranchers have ponds that cattle can stand in and cool off. Just like we use a pool to keep us cool, a pond works the same way.
  4. Shade — many farmers invest in lots of trees. Creating shade for your herd is essential. If cows and calves can hide under some trees and still have access to a breeze, they’re pretty comfortable.  (Find out where to buy portable shade at these companies, here, here and here.)

Cattle in the heat

Cattle Do Better in the Heat than We Do

Believe it or not, cattle, most of the time, do better in the heat than we do. You see, they don’t know what air conditioning is. They aren’t constantly going in and out of cold air. As the temperature increases, so does their ability to withstand higher temps.


Read More from Kellie on her blog KellieforAg