Manage summer stress to get more cows pregnant; Cool cows conceive better

Summer is a difficult time for a cow-herd. As temperatures rise, cows eat, ruminate and lie down less, which has a negative effect on their comfort, production and reproduction. Here are a few ways to manage heat stress in your herd:

Enough water to the animals

  1. Keep animals hydrated – Cows will drink 30 percent more water during times of heat stress. Avoid dehydration by providing easy access to cool, clean drinking water. Provide at least one, 1 meter water trough for every 15 to 20 cows. Make water available to cows when exiting the parlour, in addition to troughs in the barn and/or pasture. (Photo courtesy: Hoard’s Dairyman)
  1. Provide shade – Shade is an inexpensive way to give cows relief from the sun. Make sure cows have access to covered areas. You can also use shade cloth to block the sun from exposed areas.
  1. Provide fans/soakers – When soakers/misters are used with fans, the water on the cow’s skin and the air movement from the fans cools the cow. Fans and soakers placed at the feed bunk encourage eating. They are also useful in the holding pen; cows create heat as they crowd together waiting to be milked.
  1. No OvercrowdingAvoid overcrowding – Like in the holding pen, body heat from the cows can increase heat stress. Limit overcrowding to increase air flow. Housing should not exceed 120% capacity, meaning if you have 120 cows in a pen, there should be at least 100 beds. (Photo Courtesy: Dairy Business)
  1. Focus on nutrition – Maintain feed intake by providing a balanced ration with increased energy density and high quality forages, and by feeding during the cooler times of day.

It can be a challenge to get cows pregnant during times of heat stress because it is harder to detect heats and cows are less likely to conceive. While the previously mentioned heat abatement strategies can be used to improve reproduction for heat stressed cows, you can also better your chances of getting cows pregnant by selecting bulls with higher conception rates and daughter pregnancy rates.

Selecting bulls with a high Sire Conception Rate (SCR), is a great strategy to overcome low fertility in heat stressed cows.

What is SCR?

SCR measures the fertility of the bull and his ability to create pregnancies. A negative SCR means a bull is below average at creating pregnancies, while an SCR of 1.0 indicates a bull is above breed average and 1% better at creating pregnancies. For example, in a herd with a 35% conception rate using average SCR bulls, a +2.0 SCR bull would be expected to have a conception rate of 37%.

There are several of WWS bulls, with higher SCR that can help you combat reproductive issues in the summer.



#1 WWS SCR Bull

5.0 SCR / 2045 TPI / 1131 PTA Milk /6.0 SCE

Daughter of Shot Gun


High daughter fertility

4.3 SCR / 2165 TPI / 5.8 SCE / 1.4 DPR / 2.00 HCR / 2.00 CCR

(Photo – Daughter of Shot Gun)


Balanced Commercial Sire

3.5 SCR / 2081 TPI / 734 PTA Milk / 1.70 FLC / 2.10 HCR

For more details please contact World Wide Sires

Amit Sachdev, Technical Consultant, World Wide Sires *

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