Heat wave puts strain on dairy farmers and cows

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On day six of temperatures of more than 90 degrees, many of us are avoiding the outdoors as much as possible. But for dairy farmers like Steve Hershey, that’s not possible.

He’s working overtime in the heat to make sure his cows are comfortable.

“This has got to one of the hottest spells that I’ve experienced in a very long time,” Hershey said.

To make matters worse, He had a broken fan to fix.

The Penn Twp., Lancaster County farmer uses industrial fans overhead to keep his cows cool.

He also has a sprinkler system to mist water on the cows. It kicks on when the temperature hits 80 degrees.

And of course, plenty of water for the cows to drink to stay hydrated.

“It is very hard on cows, cows do not do well in hot weather.” Hershey said. “They prefer it in the 30’s and 40’s is what a cow would like it.”

With temperatures at nearly triple that, the cows need to be closely monitored.

“We have a special needs pen, that we just keep an eye open for cows that are not doing well and we pull them out to make sure they’re taken care of a little extra well,” Hershey said.

Researchers say cows begin to get uncomfortable past 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets into the 80’s and 90’s, it can start to affect milk production.

“You just can’t get a whole lot of work done on a day like today and cows are the same way,” Hershey said.

Though this heat wave is a pain for dairy farmers, Hershey said it’s unlikely to affect milk prices for consumers. He said it would need to be more widespread and for a longer period of time.

1 Comment

  • MyTakeOnIt

    If they prefer temps in the 30's and 40's, it's a shame to abuse them by raising and exploiting them in southern states or non-mountainous regions.

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