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Australian Vet recalls the day of heat stress devestation
January 19, 2015

Australian Vet  Jakob Malmo recalls the heat stress devastation that took place a year ago.

“I saw the devastation of that very hot day. I still very much remember back to that day.”

Exactly one year on, Victorian vet Jakob Malmo is adamant he will never forget the site of 80 dead dairy cows, strewn across paddocks due to heat stress.

The vet, from Maffra in Gippsland, found the deceased animals during a farm call-out in the midst of the extreme heatwave of January 2014.

Given the relatively mild and even wet summer that has hit south-eastern Victoria so far in 2015, it is hard to imagine a run of four consecutive days well above 40 degrees.

Dr Malmo said that shouldn’t breed complacency, and he never wanted to see similar circumstances occur again.

“I hope we have learnt that heat stress can have enormous implications,” he said.

“We’ve talked about heat stress causing losses of production, but only last year did we see those big losses of livestock in extreme situations.”

Dr Malmo said that during a period of extended hot weather, it was crucial livestock producers and dairy farmers in particular broke out of their daily cycle.

“If we go back to a number of stinking hot days in a row, the first thing to do is ensuring cows go into paddocks where they get adequate access to shade,” he said.

“If you give me the choice between shade and feed on a really hot day, give them the shade.”

The vet said that access to water, whether via a sprinkler system or body of water, was also vital.

“In some cases, give them access to a dam or water hole,” he said.

“I’ve seen cows with only their nose poking out like a hippopotamus.

“They cool themselves; they know where to go.”

Source: ABC Rural


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