Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dairy heat stress and Climate Change, connect the dots, make wise plans for NYS farming


Disturbing as today’s news about how overheated cows are producing less milk; this is an anticipated effect of Climate Change in our region.

Overheated cows in region are producing less milk The extraordinarily hot and dry weather this summer is affecting New York’s dairy industry, even though farms here are better off than in some other parts of the country. The heat and lack of rain are hurting crops that farmers feed to cows, and the hot weather makes the cows so uncomfortable they aren’t eating as much, causing them to produce less milk.  (July 18, 2012)  Democrat and Chronicle

Here is what the Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) has to say about dairy heat stress and how keeping cows cool will be a priority in the coming years as our regions warms.

However, increasing temperatures over the next several decades have the potential to affect milk production. As average temperatures increase, milk output is likely to decrease, in particular among high-producing herds (85 pounds per day per cow) with substantially greater sensitivity to heat stress. The decrease in milk production for cows that produce 65 pounds per day is estimated to be on the order of 30 percent, but the amount of lost production is more than twice that much for a cow producing 85 pounds per day by the end of this century.3 By the 2050s and certainly by the 2080s, heat stress on cows alone is predicted to generate notable losses unless effective cooling systems are in place. Page 74, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID))

If the local media connected the dots between milk production and the local effects of Climate Change we could better prepare for higher milk prices and garner public support for the energy increase that will be need to cool the dairy industry and keep it thriving as we adapt to Climate Change.

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