KOCHI: The increasing mercury level is having an adverse effect on cattle and the productivity and health of dairy animals are drastically affected, say experts. Because of the increasing temperature levels, the energy that the cattle gain from the feed is wasted by panting and sweating, resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in milk production.
The excessive heat and humid conditions will also lead to low quantity food intake by the animals, increasing consumption of water, change in blood hormone concentration and increase in body temperature.
“During summer, the milk production is reduced to the extent of 50 per cent as the crossbred or exotic animals are more prone to heat stress losses compared to indigenous cattle. The Animal Husbandry Department has already issued a set of guidelines that the farmers should adopt to tackle the issue,” said Smita Sivadasan, Subject Matter Specialist (Animal Husbandry), Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ernakulam.
As per the guidelines, the animals should not be tied in open places for grazing, where they are directly exposed to sunlight, especially between 11 am and 3 pm - the hottest hours of the day. “Let them graze during cooler parts of the day early in the morning and in the evening. Similarly, transportation should be avoided in hotter parts of the day,” she added.
Since, green grass supply is scarce during summer, in order to prevent Vitamin A deficiency, fish oil should be supplemented to the cattle feed. “Fresh, clean and cool water should be supplied to the cattle. Proper animal housing/sheds should be provided. Shades of trees will also provide ideal protection from radiant heat,” said Smita.