Summer heat advice

PROVIDING LIVESTOCK with shade and water during extreme heat is ‘‘paramount’’ according to an owner of a northern Victorian veterinary practice.

Keith Fletcher, of Rochester Veterinary Practice, provided some tips on the best way to handle livestock to prevent heat stress.

‘‘A combination of shade and water is the most important thing,’’ Dr Fletcher said.

‘‘For beef cattle, farmers should select the paddocks so they will have shade during the day and put them in open paddocks at night when they are less likely to get overheated.

‘‘For dairy cows, sprinklers in yards and sheds and in some cases fans can work.

‘‘Also watering concrete before they stand on it (is an option).’’

For other livestock, such as sheep, Dr Fletcher said the same protocols should be taken.

‘‘It holds true for all them — shade and water. Sheep are a bit more resistant to heat but still need to get out of direct contact with the sun.’’

Dr Fletcher said farmers should avoid moving livestock during the hottest part of the days.

‘‘Avoid management jobs like yarding in hottest parts of the day,’’ he said.

‘‘Certainly, the cattle are feeling the heat but I haven’t had to handle any cases (yet).

‘‘The dairy cows are not producing as much milk and the beef cattle are going slowly and not putting on a lot of weight.’’