The first project in the UK to give real time data on heat stress in cows has been launched.

With limited UK data available on the impact of heat stress in indoor and outdoor herds, Lallemand Animal Nutrition and Dr Tom Chamberlain, founder of Chalcombe Ltd, are launching the first ever UK based, real time trial to support farmers this summer.

“The biggest issue facing UK farmers when it comes to heat stress is that our cows aren’t adapted for higher temperatures. Because of this, and the fact that most of the data we have comes from hot countries, the threshold could be significantly lower than what we currently think,” explained Mark McFarland, feed additive product manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition.

“This could mean that cows in the UK could experience heat stress at lower temperatures and humidity levels than cows in Argentina or Spain for example. Consequently, the correlated drop in fertility and milk production could be happening much sooner than expected.”

In this trial, unique monitors will be fitted to a network of dairy farms in south England with the data being relayed to Lallemand’s website. This data will be streamed live so that farmers will be able to see the current level of heat stress risk, rather than basing management decisions on last year’s data.

Temperature and humidity will be recorded inside and outside the shed, which will be translated into updated graphs reflecting changing conditions and challenges, helping indoor and grazing herds.

“Most farmers graze their cows in the summer and there isn’t much known about the risks of heat stress at grass. We will be using work from Australia to help assess the live risk to UK grazing herds, and this information will be reported on the Lallemand website alongside the results for housed cows,” added Tom Chamberlain.

As reported by the Met Office earlier this year, heat stress in cattle is likely to become a much bigger problem in England and northern Europe due to global warming raising average temperatures and making extreme events such as heat waves more common.

On top of this, as dairy cow yields increase, they become more prone to heat stress.

“Our project will be the first to measure and report heat stress risks in real time. This will allow farmers to take timely actions to reduce the impact of heat stress.”

As well as the collected data, farmers will also be able to access management advice to mitigate the impact of heat stress before production is compromised.

“This data collection will be ongoing to continuously provide an accurate picture of heat stress in this country. Over the next few years, we plan to expand our research to incorporate more farms across the UK,” said Mark.

You can access the data here.

In addition to this, Lallemand Animal Nutrition will also be hosting a webinar, which is registered with dairy pro points, with Tom to provide an update on the project and highlight some of the key findings this research has uncovered.

The webinar will also feature four dairy farmers giving some background on their farms.

This will take place on June 3 at 7pm, to register for the event click here.