4. Protein: Consider increasing the protein density in the dairy ration by providing ruminal-digestible protein sources, slow-release nitrogen or bypass amino acids. During heat stress, a decline in DMI can decrease the amount of available protein and result in less microbial protein being available to the cow.
5. Minerals: Sweating aids in heat dissipation, where sodium, potassium and phosphorus are lost from the body. Some diet changes can be used to help with this nutrient loss. Buffers such as sodium bicarbonate should be increased to 8 to 12 ounces per head per day. Consider dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) balancing or ensure ration potassium is targeted at 1.5% to 1.7% of DMI. When environmental temperatures are above 86ºF, make sure diets contain at least 0.2 to 0.25 pounds of salt per cow, per day.
Supplemental chromium helps improve performance during heat stress
Other minerals such as chromium can also aid in combating heat stress. Chromium is an essential micronutrient that potentiates insulin action at the cell level, thereby allowing tissues to take up more glucose from the bloodstream. Increased glucose availability and utilization has significant benefits for the dairy cow.
Chromium supplementation also minimizes the negative effects of the stress response by consistently decreasing serum cortisol during stressful periods for cattle. KemTRACE® Chromium has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization and improve DMI during heat stress to help maintain milk production.
Increased glucose availability and utilization may have significant benefits to milk production during extended periods of heat stress at different stages of lactation. Research studies, designed to test the effect of chromium on milk yield under heat stress conditions, have all shown cows supplemented with chromium yielded more milk than control cows.
When facility improvements such as proper working fans, misters and shade are present, cows can still experience heat stress. Be proactive. Making dietary adjustments can help cows overcome the challenge of heat stress and thereby avoid decreased milk production and lowered fertility.
Kemin is built on exacting science at the molecular level to provide data-driven solutions. Innovative products like KemTRACE® Chromium are specifically designed for ruminant nutrition and health. Contact us today to learn more.