Heat stress lowers productivity and reproduction success in beef and dairy cattle, but an animal health expert says a probiotic can be a useful tool to limit losses.
Dr. Steve Lerner with Chr. Hansen tells Brownfield the function of a probiotic is to improve digestion of nutrients out of feed. “And to keep the surface area for absorption healthy so the animals get the nutrients from their feed into their bodies and then again supporting the barrier and immune function,” he says.
He says gut health matters to an animal’s productivity, especially in times of stress. “They still have enough nutrients to ensure a reasonable rate of gain and reasonable reproductive success,” he says.
In addition to the potential for a reduction in dry matter intake, cattle show signs of heat stress through panting, drooling, and open-mouth breathing.