Local dairy farmers working to keep cows cool and production up - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local dairy farmers working to keep cows cool and production up

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Elk Mound (WQOW) - The hot weather isn't just affecting people; it's taking its toll on animals too.

Lee Jensen, the General Manager of Five Star Dairy in Elk Mound, says, this week's high temps have him and his employees doing everything they can to keep the cows cool.

Jensen says, "Cows are creatures of habit and we try to make things just as routine as we can. It's not uncommon for farmers who don't have good cow cooling to lose at least 20 pounds of cow a day. You put that on a thousand cows, that's 20,000 pounds a day."  

The hot weather has an effect on the appetite of the cows and the less they eat, the less milk they produce.

Jensen says, "It can also really lower your breeding conception rates a lot. It's kind of a big cycle, if you can mitigate or reduce some of this heat stress it helps you to even out your breeding performance, it helps your production."

He says, "We have computers that control all of these barns. We have monitoring throughout the barns, thermometer probes, humidity probes, and wind meters and also outside weather stations. So we're tracking all these things."

Jensen says keeping the cows from overheating is key for future production.

"They don't just come back, they never come back to where they were so it has a implication on the whole year," explains Jensen. "We will see a drop if it continues but nothing like it would be if we didn't have all this cooling."

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, milk production can drop by 10 to 15 percent during hot weather.

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