What is Livestock Heat Stress and the Impact of Shade Structures?

Published by Trent Martin on September 3, 2018

Livestock heat stress or Excessive Heat Load describes the situation where livestock are not able to dissipate their body heat effectively & in turn their body temperature rises above normal. This initially leads to production losses but can in extreme cases also lead to death.

There are different environmental conditions that can contribute to heat stress in your livestock. This can include rainfall, humidity, limited air movement, high ongoing minimum & maximum temperatures, lack of shade (natural &/or shade sails) or a sudden change in climate.

The type of livestock can also contribute to heat stress. Heavier cattle & cattle with health conditions are more liable to be affected by heat stress. Cattle with lighter coats tend to be more heat tolerant then darker coats. Your cattle breed can also have an influence on heat stress.

Heat stress can be minimised by ensuring your livestock have access to shade systems, water & that your site conditions are not too cramped.

Livestock shade structures can have a large impact on excessive heat load (EHL) in cattle during the summer months. By reducing solar radiation and slowing the rate of the body heat gain, research has shown that the provision of cattle shade sails can improve productivity, increase profitability by enhancing cattle comfort.

Download our Free Livestock Shelter Guide which outlines the benefits of livestock shade structures and the importance of shade for your cattle.

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