Farmers urged to check shed temperatures throughout the year
Average UK temperatures are on the rise, prompting a warning for farmers to keep an eye on the temperatures of their sheds throughout the year – paying particular attention to dairy sheds.
High temperatures can prove challenging to livestock and according to DEFRA, temperatures of 42°C and above can prove fatal for cows. Furthermore, productivity can decline at temperatures from 25°C upwards in the average cow and even lower in high yielding animals, so it’s essential that careful monitoring of heat levels takes place regularly.
During winter cows are not free from heat stress in the winter months according to NADIS, because of the high humidity that can develop within housing because of poor ventilation. Furthermore in a well stocked building the temperature can be 10°C warmer than outside and so on relatively warm sunny winter days, in buildings with high relative humidity (RH) levels cows can be near or even above their upper critical temperature (UCT).
It is recommended to watch out for key warning signs of heat stress in animals; including increased water consumption, panting and drooling in cows. As well as regular monitoring, effective and well-maintained ventilation can improve atmospheric conditions in animal sheds, with outdated or faulty ventilation equipment blamed for many temperature spikes.
If a problem with your ventilation or other equipment causes lost productivity or even fatalities, your losses could be covered by your agricultural business interruption insurance.
By Jackie Burrows, Business Development Manager, FUW Insurance Services Ltd