The rollercoaster weather in Iowa of late has seen temperatures in the 80s, diving into the 20s with snow, back into the 80s and now we’re in the 50s. While annoying people, the weird weather is also distressing for animals, especially livestock. Dan Loy is a feedlot nutritionist at the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University. Loy says the extreme fluctuations in temperature are a concern. Most cattle still have their heavy winter hair coats and temperatures that’d normally be well tolerated later in the summer can result in heat stress. He says most cattle will endure the current cold snap well. Loy says most cattle don’t experience cold stress as low as 20-degrees so when it’s 60 out, they may even be a little on the warm side. He says Iowa cattle producers usually prepare for these strange up-and-down turns in temperature by planning for them. He says the worst things are catostropic changes that are different than what we normally see. Loy says cattle producers are already through one of the worst potential periods that can effect an animals growth and the cost of production — the muddy periods during late March and early April.
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