Main research question
Beef and dairy cattle farmers are acutely aware of the effects of heat stress on their animals during the past hot summers. They also have questions about what they can do to mitigate the consequences. This project aims to support Flemish cattle farmers in the choice of appropriate preventive measures. We focus both on the implementation of newer techniques and on the correct application of already known practices.
This project will address five important actions to prevent or remediate heat stress in cattle: optimal silage and feed management, grazing strategies, ventilation, water spraying and roof cooling. We raise farmers' awareness of the different techniques. We inform them about the working mechanisms and costs. For the ventilation theme, we simulate optimal ventilation in demonstration barns in order to better advise farmers about correct installation and positioning of the fans. We coach farmers to make the optimal choices around heat stress on their own farm.
Based on several cases on practicing farms we demonstrate good practices in reducing heat stress. Videos and cost-benefit analyses of the various techniques will be made. Further dissemination of the project results will take place via two demonstration fairs and publication of at least 6 press articles. This demonstration project is funded by the Flemish government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).