Producers need to monitor temperature, humidity and airflow during summer months to reduce the risk of livestock heat stress. This page is a resource to help beef cattle producers with monitoring and managing these high Temperature Humidity Index (THI) events.
Key Points to Reduce Heat Stress
- Supply access to abundant fresh water. For every 1,000 lb of weight, cattle can require at least 20 gallons of water per day when the ambient temperature is above 80°F.
- Provide sprinklers to wet pen floor. Use sprinklers with large droplet size to keep pen floor and mounds cool for cattle to rest on.
- Provide shade in pens. Shading has shown to reduce solar heat load by 5-10°F for cattle resting under it.
- Allow Airflow. Move cattle away from windbreaks and allow as much airflow through the pens as possible during high heat and humidity events.
- Process cattle in early mornings. If cattle need to be handled, it is recommended to do it during early mornings before 10:00 a.m..
Nebraska Extension Resource
USDA-ARS Heat Stress Forecast Monitor
The USDA-ARS with National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service has developed a weekly forecast monitor that predicts the risk level of heat stress events. Click the following link to visit their website: USDA Heat Stress Monitor
USDA-ARS Heat Stress Monitoring App
Monitor heat stress predictions on the go with an USDA-ARS app for your mobile devices. You can download the app from the below links.
Beef Cattle Temperature Humidity Chart
By using forecasted temperature and humidity, producers can determine the risk of heat stress and implement their emergency plan during these high THI events. Click the following link to download the chart: TCI Chart