Protecting dairy cows from heat is a job on its own

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) - Miltrim Farms in Athens has more than 1,100 cows. The days of excessive heat like we’re experiencing can be stressful for them.

General manager David Trimner says it’s important to keep the cows cool.

“If a cow doesn’t get enough water, she is going to start to not feel well, and then she will get dehydrated and eventually it wouldn’t go well. So, we want to make sure she is hydrated and thriving,” said Trimner.

Miltrim Farms uses large fans and sprinklers plus plenty of shade for its cows.

“We bring air through the barn, it keeps a constant wind velocity which helps keep the cows cool,” said Trimner.

At Miltrim Farms, Trimner says cows drink between 35-45 gallons of water a day.

“We also use soakers where the cows stand and eat. The soakers will constantly spray water at them at different intervals. Then the fans will then evaporate that water off to keep them cool. That’s what keeps them comfortable hear in the summer,” said Trimner.

The dangerous heat could have a critical impact on not only cows, but the farmers working out in the heat.

“The nice thing is because the barns are ventilated for the teams that have to work in the barns, it’s relatively pleasant. And that nice breeze blowing through and it makes the job a little more pleasant,” said Trimner.

The cows can come home to a nice cool resting place.

“Another thing that we have on dairy is sand beds and sand tends to stay cooler, and that’s nice to have in these hot summers,” said Trimner.

Another thing he looks for in a cow during the heat is if the cow is dehydrated. Particularly, by the look of her eyes and her ears might be droopy.