Heat stress in cattle can have big impacts on both the productivity and profitability of beef cattle production, by impacting on areas such as feed intake, growth, milk production and fertility. In severe situations heat stress can result in the death of the animal.
Heat stress is typically brought on by excessive heat load, which occurs when animals are unable to dissipate their body heat, causing their overall body temperature to rise. Heat stress is brought on by a range of factors which typically have compounded effects on the animal’s ability to dissipate heat.
Relative humidity is a key environmental factor which can attribute to excessive heat load, as it affects the ability of the animal to use evaporative cooling methods to dissipate heat (e.g. sweating, panting).