Heat affecting Heartland dairy cow milk production

The nearly 100-degree weather is stressing out livestock and that could impact your wallet if you like milk.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - If these high temperatures are stressing you out, you aren’t the only one.

The nearly 100-degree weather is also stressing out livestock and that could also impact your wallet if you like milk.

John Schoen is doing the same thing he’s done since he was eight, raising cows.

In almost sixty years in the business, he can’t remember the last time he saw such a drastic jump in temperature.

“Anytime that temperatures don’t get below 70 at night, their body will be in that 100 degree range because they’re just like walking boilers, they’re just gonna eat, eat, eat and then it’s gonna create a lot of heat,” he said.

A dairy cow’s production drops when they’re uncomfortable.

Schoen’s farm is down 18 percent.

“If this goes on very long, the milk prices that we are seeing now will not lessen until maybe January February,” he said.

Chad Voelker is facing the same problem.

A device in the ears of his cows monitors their eating and temperatures.

“We watch that more during the heat so that if there is a sick cow we can look at her, throw her into a smaller group where there’s not as many cows and just kind spread her out,” he said.

Also, cows tend to group up in heat.

Voelker said industry-wide nobody knows why, but it makes producing milk even harder.

“They create more heat standing together than they would be spread apart,” he said. “Them standing more is where you lose the production.”

Schoen’s cows do it too.

“We have experimented with different ways to correct that, we’ve changed the direction of some of the fans and that has helped some,” he said.

Both farmers are hoping humidity will stay down so they can see increases in production.

Voelker said the heat is also affecting crops like corn and wheat; and the lack of rain is not helping.

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