Heat stress

The first weeks of June often bring summer-like temperatures to the southern Great Plains and with those first hot, humid days comes heat stress. Recent market conditions have created a scenario when there are greater inventories of heavier cattle on feed in many feedyards.

The convergence of these two factors prompted our KSU Beef Extension Team to host a webinar highlighting the current weather outlook and how to prepare for heat stress events. The webinar was recorded and may be accessed www.KSUBeef.org. One the best strategies for dealing with heat stress is preparation and monitoring.

The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center has developed a heat stress forecasting tool that provides cattle managers with a seven-day heat stress outlook by region. The heat stress forecast may be accessed at https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/clay-center-ne/marc/docs/heat-stress/main/.

The Kansas mesonet also has an animal comfort page that allows users to select a specific location within the state. This site allows the user to view hourly updates, as well as previous 7-day animal comfort index chart to monitor overnight cooling. The Kansas mesonet animal comfort page may be accessed at https://mesonet.k-state.edu/agriculture/animal/.

If you were not aware of these resources, I highly encourage you to check them out and make checking these sites part of your summer routine.

Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., is a beef systems specialist at Kansas State University’s Southwest Area Extension Office in Garden City, Kansas. For more information, contact him at jwaggon@ksu.edu.