STRESS HURTS YOUR COWS, YOU AND YOUR STAFF.

While it is vital to manage heat stress, your dairy cows can face more than 30 different stress factors, and all of them can have an effect on cow health and performance. Stress factors can interact, multiplying health consequences for your cows and your cost of production. Plus, when your cows are stressed, you can become stressed and so can the people around you and your cows. Use this educational resource to learn about the many different stress factors and solutions to reduce their damage.

There’s a lot of stress out there.

Jefo Dairy Cow Stressors

Our industry tends to view stressors one at a time. But stress is much more complicated and wide-ranging. Stress can surround cows at virtually all times in different ways. Some cows are more affected by it than others.

Genetics plays a big role, but so does management and nutrition. It takes a whole farm approach to keep cows comfortable, healthy and producing.

Identify potential stressors on your farm.

Stage of production

Stage of production

  • Dry-off
  • Close up
  • Calving
  • Just fresh
  • Peak milk
  • Breeding
  • Calf weaning

Weather

Weather

  • Heat stress
  • Cold, humidity, light
  • Adverse weather events
  • Excessive rain, snow

Management

Management

  • Stocking density
  • Group changes
  • Mixed parity groupings
  • Bunk space
  • Health status
  • Lameness
  • Housing type
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Human-animal interactions
Jefo Intake icon

Intake

Intake

  • Feed availability and quality
  • Feeding frequency
  • Water supply and quality
  • Ration balance
  • Feed changes

Health

HEALTH

  • Metabolic Disease:
    • Related to transition period
    • Clinical & subclinical ketosis
    • Milk fever
    • Metritis
  • Rumen & Gut Health:
    • Clinical & subclinical acidosis
    • Inflammation
    • Lameness
    • Mastitis

Stress factors build on each other.

Intuitively, in your own life, you recognize the risk of multiple stressors building on top of each other. Some days it can reach a point where everything comes crashing down. We call it the Jenga® Effect.

For your cows, stressors can trigger all sorts of negative outcomes: reduced longevity, poor reproductive performance, immune dysfunction, lower milk production and component yield, and more.

Knowing how stressors interact – and how you can manage them – will help you keep your cows producing at a high level and help prevent unnecessary revenue losses.

How stress gets magnified

Chris Gwyn, Jefo North America ruminant business development manager, explains how stress factors interact and make things worse for you and your cows.

Manage every stressor to avoid intensifying effects.

Although you already manage a lot, you can’t afford to give any stress factor a free pass. Here are some solutions to help manage stress wherever it attacks across the farm.

Focused investment on each stage:

  • Dry-off
  • Close up
  • Calving
  • Fresh peak
  • Breeding
  • Calf weaning

Implement a whole farm approach

Add heat abatement strategies

Avoid overcrowding

Deliver feed during the coolest time of the day

Increase nutrient density of the ration

Feed high-quality forages

Increase feeding frequency

Avoid heating of the ration

Implement a precision nutrition strategy with protected B vitamins

Protect animals from cold stress, excessive snow

Ensure good air quality

Access to quality water

Adapted light program

Animal comfort

Ensure adequate feed and resting space

Prevention strategy for metabolic disease

Zero lameness program

Train employees about proper animal interactions

Avoid overcrowding

Minimize negative energy balance

Prioritize rumen health

Ensure best quality feeds

Supply essential nutrients in a form that guarantees the right level is absorbed by the cow: Protected B Vitamins, Vitamins A, D & E, protected Selenium

Manage, prevent and treat – even at the subclinical or moderate stages

Use precision technology to help identify problems early

Supply essential nutrients to support a cow’s health and metabolic well-being

Zero lameness program

Don’t give any stress factor a free pass.

Jefo Dairy Cow

When your cows are stressed, your own level of stress can rise. If you’re feeling it, let’s talk about how we can help you chill.

Heat Stress is Overrated

Every stressor can affect performance and profitability.

While heat stress attracts a lot of attention, the dozens of different stressors shown above also can affect cow health and performance and your farm’s profitability.

Social stressors come from a variety of sources. Production stages such as calving can be a stressor. Nutritional stressors can be physiological or they can be perceptual. With potential for stressors to trigger negative outcomes looming large, nutrition has to play a vital protective role. Learn more from Dr. Trevor DeVries in this Jefo RumiNation Podcast.

Magnifying Dairy Stress

Stress factors interact, compounding the original issue and reducing revenue.

You see it in your cows. You know it about yourself. Stress grows. One stressful event creates stress elsewhere in your day and can even spread to those around you. The compounding effects of stress tell us that we can’t put stress factors such as heat, overcrowding, lameness, noise, weaning and more into silos. We view stress holistically. We help you care for your cows in the same way.

It’s the strain that matters.

Cows are stressed. The strain is how they respond to that stress, says Dr. Matthew Lucy, Ph.D., in a Jefo RumiNation podcast episode. Consider two cows who have the same levels of postpartum BHB but react differently. Or cows in a crowd, each reacting to that stress differently.

Once you have great genetics, management takes over. Great managers pay keen attention to nutrition. There is no substitution for good management and nutrition, says Dr. Lucy.

SPEAK WITH A REAL (FRIENDLY) EXPERT.

Your Jefo representative can help you reduce stress levels across the farm. Get ideas for nutrition strategies. Get your hands on more research. Learn more about a protected B vitamin blend and selenium. Or just get a conversation started.

MI, IN, OH

Gabriel Papoi
Email Gabriel
989.444.8275

Upper Midwest

Kris Malinov
Email Kris
706.206.3476

Kara Ortega

Western Region

Kara Ortega
Email Kara
650.504.2200

Sales Director Canada, USA

Chris Gwyn
Email Chris
519.301.8234

Ron Jones

Southern Alberta

Ron Jones
Email Ron
403.804.1205

Oswall Villalobos

Quebec and Atlantic Canada

Oswal Villalobos
Email Oswal
514.451.2462

Rhod Ross

Northern Alberta, Manitoba

Rhod Ross
Email Rhod
403.702.6709

Daniel Gutierrez

Saskatchewan

Alli Garand
Email Alli
306.230.3800