Summertime is a difficult time of the year to produce milk.
Dairy Pipeline: June 1996
Charles C. Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist
Every year milk production declines during the hot summer months. Temperatures above 80 degrees F and humid weather bring a reduction in feed consumption followed by a decrease in milk flow. Keeping cows eating is the key. Make the environment around the feed bunk comfortable. Keep air moving with fans or natural ventilation. A shaded area is necessary and can be accomplished with overhead netting. An extra feeding can help by keeping the feed fresh. Feeding this extra time would be best during cooler times of the day when cows are more likely to consume feed. Don't forget to provide plenty of cool, clear water. Keep cows from standing close together for prolonged periods such as in the holding area before milking. Remember if you are hot, the cows are hotter because they must digest large quantities of feed. Increased potassium and sodium in rations has been demonstrated to be of value in hot weather. Rations can be made more energy dense by adding supplemental fat as whole seeds, tallow, or rumen protected fats. Do not exceed 7% fat in the ration dry matter, however.