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Livestock Sun Shade: How to Cool Your Cows for Maximum Productivity

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The increases in temperature and humidity caused by climate change are expected to impact your livestock now more than at any other time. 

Research by science direct shows some worrying trends caused by heat stress on livestock:

  • Economic losses across major livestock industries in the United States at $897 million per year
  • Low productivity

The good news is that there is a strategy to reduce heat stress in your livestock – livestock sunshade.

But first, let’s see the importance of livestock sunshade.

Importance of Cow Shade

If you are a livestock farmer, you will reap the benefits of having a cow shade.

Improved Comfort for Your Cows

You won’t like to see your cattle stressed out there. And that’s what good cattle farming is all about. So providing livestock sunshade to reduce heat stress is good livestock management. The cattle without shelter need to put more energy into normal functioning and less into production.

If you’re making those cattle comfortable and letting them get out there and do what they need to be doing, which is grazing. 

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Increased Productivity  of Your Cows

Studies show that cows’ productivity is affected by heat stress. Cooler cows are more productive: A study by the University of Kentucky on  heat-stress shows daily  cow  weight gains of

  •  1.25 pounds for cows,
  •  0.41 pounds for calves and
  •  0.89 pounds for steers  

A similar study by the University of Missouri found that

  •  Cows gained 0.72 pounds more per day than unshaded ones. 
  •  Availability of shade also
    •  Increase milk production by 10 – 19 %
    •  Improves rates of conception in cows by almost 20%.

When cattle get stressed by heat they eat less hence fail to gain weight. So with cow shade, you can improve your production. 

Managing Your Cattle under Heat

Shade 

Your cows lose heat by respiration and evaporation. If you provide livestock sunshade to your cows, you reduce their extra heat load by 50 percent.

You can build a shade structure such as a cow shade cloth or corrugated iron. If you decide to go for corrugated iron, have it painted white to reflect sun rays.

Feed intake

You can feed your cows with quality feed with low fibers because it leads to heat load on the animal.

Water 

Livestock increase water intake during extreme heat conditions. Therefore, you should have concrete water troughs around the farm under shades.

Animal Movement and handling

If you are transporting your livestock, do it on warmer days. And avoid overcrowding animals because it increases heat stress.

During extreme heat conditions, it is better to keep animals in grazing areas that are close by to ensure fewer distances of moving back. 

Cows at Higher risk of Heat Stress

Your cows are at the highest risk of heat stress if they are:

  • Fat 
  • Young 
  • Dark-colored 
  • Sick
  • High yielding dairy cows

Cow Shade Suitable During Hot Weather

The best type of livestock shade screen protects your cattle from the sun. This allows the cooling effect of the wind. 

You can have options for cow shade in hot weather such as:

  • Livestock sun shade  constructed using shade cloth or iron sheet
  • Shadebelts 
  • Large canopy trees planted in the field 
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Cattle Shade Cloth Material for Your Cows

Cow shade cloth is made from knitted polyethylene fabric. The main features are:

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Recyclable and environmentally friendly
  • Cows shade cloth is available with grommets to save you time and money,
  • UV stabilized to reduce sun exposure for safe and extended time outdoors
  • Offered in 30% – 80% densities to meet your specific livestock use 
  • Wide range of sizes to keeps livestock cooler.
  • Strong HDPE won’t rot or absorb moisture

How to Buy Shade Cloth Material?

You can purchase Cow Shade cloth in bulk in a variety of widths. For instance, at Eyouagro Eyouagro, you get cow shade cloth with grommets and hemmed for your convenience. Besides, your livestock sunscreen can be customized to suit your specifications.

What is Shade Percentage?

Shade density is the percentage of light blocked by the cow shade cloth.

For instance, if you have 80% shade, it means that only 20% of light passes through it. The following are recommended livestock sun shade density requirements.

Type of AnimalShade in square feet per head (ft2/HD)
400 Pound calves23
800 Pound feeders32
Beef cows40
Dairy cows50
Mature swine20
Horses60
Small ruminant8

Constructing a Livestock Sun Shade 

You can construct cow shade  with: 

  • Durable materials to last over a life of 10 years.
  • Livestock sunshade can be replaced within its lifespan. 
  • Dispose or recycle worn-out cow shade material as appropriate.

You should ensure the design of the top of the livestock sunshade is flat. This is to allow the minimum load on the supports. Provide an appropriate pitch for your structure roof to allow runoff. 

Lastly, Anchor the four corners of your shade structure with tie-downs of adequate size and strength to meet the local wind conditions.

The size requirements for individual shade structure units are 25 feet wide by 50 feet in length. 

For portable structures, you may use smaller sizes to allow movement. If you have many animals to be sheltered, use many structures depending on your livestock be sheltered.

What Accessories Go with Cattle Shade Material?

Tie-downs are used with cow shade cloth that has grommets. For shade cloth without grommets cow shade clips can be used to attach your shade cloth to structures or wire supports. 

 Use also Net connecting pins to fix your cow shade.

Several additional cow shade cloth accessories are available here, to request more information please contact us and a knowledgeable team will assist you in choosing the right accessories for your cow shade structure.

Conclusion

Cow protection against heat is essential. If you use shade cloth, it will protect your plants. Give your plants an umbrella to protect themselves and will bring you expected benefits. Therefore, acquire cattle sunshade if you are looking for ways on how to improve your cattle productivity and comfort.

To help maintain your livestock’s health and wellness, you can view our cattle shade products at eyouagro. Eyouagro is a professional manufacturer of shade cloth. Don’t hesitate to visit us at. www.eyouAgro.com or contact us at  [email protected] and select your best shade cloth. 

Hey, I’m Kevin Lyu, the founder of Eyouagro.com , Family-run business
An expert of agriculture protection textile specialist .
In the past 24 years, we have helped 55 countries and 150+ Clients like farms, orchards , vineyards to protect their plants. The purpose of this article is to share with the knowledge related to agriculture growing protection for making the plant healthier and stronger.
We are at your disposal for any technical or commercial information

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