Cow comfort impacts the animal’s health, productivity and your bottom line. Every dairy operator wants to keep his or her herd comfortable and happy but it can sometimes be difficult to do, especially in the hot summer months. To keep your cows healthy and profitable, consider these four tips to cow comfort:
- Bedding: out with the old, in with the new
When your cows are well rested, they are more likely to stay on feed and maintain quality milk production. Take a look at where your herd is hitting the hay and inspect the area for any spills, decaying straw and manure— remember that dry bedding is the best bedding! Sand is a great option for deep-bedded stalls because it’s able to conform to the cow’s body— there’s also less bacterial growth in sand vs. other organic materials, which is always a plus.
- Water: keep it flowing
On a hot summer day, being thirsty can be just as unpleasant to cows as it is for people. With an average dairy cow drinking up to 50 gallons of water every day, this number can almost double during periods of heat stress. Maintaining a constant supply of accessible fresh, clean water will help relieve your cow from any unnecessary discomfort.
- Fly control: make a plan
Flies bite, annoy and cause pain to your herd and employees alike. Reducing fly populations on dairy farms not only increases cow comfort, but also drastically reduces the spread of disease pathogens. Implement an integrated pest management (IPM) plan established around ClariFly® Larvicide to gain control of these damaging pests.
- Barn: clean sweep!
One of the most important steps in an IPM plan is maintaining your operation to keep the flies away and to provide a clean, comfortable living space for your cows. Always be keeping an eye out for any needed repairs and manage manure in a timely manner. Clean cows are happy cows.
ClariFly® Larvicide is a feed additive that prevents house flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies from developing in and emerging from the manure of treated livestock, where flies lay their eggs. Unlike conventional insecticides that attack the nervous system of insects through direct toxicity, ClariFly® Larvicide works by interrupting the fly life cycle, preventing them from maturing. When mixed into livestock feed, ClariFly® Larvicide passes through the animal’s digestive system and into the manure.
For more information on getting started with an IPM program, check out our IPM Guide resource.
Article originally appeared in American Dairymen.