Temperatures are beginning to rise and that means cattle can start to feel the effects of heat stress. It actually really doesn’t have to be that hot out before heat stress can occur. At temperatures as low as 70 degrees heat stress can set in.
VitaFerm® HEAT is a mineral product that BioZyme® launched in 2014 and is an ideal product to use in heat stress situations. VitaFerm HEAT contains Amaferm® and Capsaicin, a pepper extract, both research-proven to lower body temperature. In the show world, we love the phrase “lower body temperature” because that means less heat stress, and cattle are more likely to keep their hair. However, despite all the benefits that HEAT has when feeding to your cow herd, BioZyme nutritionist, Kevin Glaubius, does NOT recommend feeding VitaFerm HEAT to your show cattle.
“HEAT mineral has been shown to modify feed intake. Cattle on HEAT consume more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. In show animals we often only feed them twice per day or they are tied up, so they can’t consume more, smaller meals. For that reason, the unknown question that remains is ‘Will feeding HEAT reduce feed intake leading to lower performance?’ Until we can positively answer that question we are erring on the side of caution and not recommending this product for show animals,” said Kevin Glaubius, Director of Nutrition and Technical Sales.
So what other methods can be used to reduce heat stress? Amaferm is found in all Sure Champ products, which are specifically designed for show livestock. That Amaferm found in Sure Champ not only improves digestive health and stimulates appetite, but it also research-proven to decrease body temperature. Amaferm is also research-proven to increase water and feed intake, which we know lack of appetite is often a symptom in heat stressed cattle.
In addition to managing heat stress at the feed pan, ensuring that your show cattle have adequate access to cool, clean water is extremely important. As a rule of thumb, cattle will drink approximately two gallons of water for every 100 lbs. of weight. So that means your 1,200 lb. steer could drink up to 24 gallons of water a day.
You’ll also want to provide a cool comfortable area for your show cattle. Shade can come from something as simple as a large shade tree, or you might want to put up fans or even have a cooler system. It is important to note that if you are providing a significantly cooler environment for your show cattle, you need to be sure that you are not shocking their system by moving them from extreme temperature changes. Cattle that have been under fans or in a cooler should not be turned out until temperatures drop below 70 degrees.