New study shows importance of keeping pregnant cows cool
A new study shows heat stress reduces fetal growth, influences performance, and immune development in calves. The study published in the Journal of Dairy Science is from the University of Florida, which compared two groups of pregnant cows exposed to the Florida heat, with one of the groups getting cooling measures during late pregnancy.
Dr. Geoffrey Dahl’s team found that calves born to heat-stressed cows had lower birth weights, lower weights of organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys, thymus, and spleen, and higher rates of cell death in the intestine. Dahl says the higher rate of intestinal cell death suggests that these calves may have a reduced ability to absorb immune factors from colostrum, essential to the transfer of maternal immunity to the immature and vulnerable calf, during the critical first hours after birth.