RUMINANT NEWS

HEATWAVE CAN AFFECT MILK- MEAT PRODUCTION AND LIVESTOCK REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE

Livestock Department urged the cattle owners to take special care of their animals from severe weather conditions especially heat wave as it could affect not only the milk and meat production but reproductive system of the animals due to hormonal disturbance. Cattle are precious asset of the farmers and any negligence in animals’ care can cause losses to farmers. Dr. Jamshaid Akhtar said that heatwave affects the fertility, reproductive performance of different livestock’s species by compromising functions of the reproductive tract, and disrupting the hormonal balance, decreasing the oocyte quality which leads to damage embryo development and its survival. He, however held that the local species of various animals (Sahiwal breed) had strong immune system and thus capable of bearing extremity of the weather. He said, “the heat stress mainly affects performance through reduced feed intake, associated with reduced rumination, resulting in the decreased production of the natural buffer, saliva. Reduced rumen function and lower feed intake put the animal at risk of negative energy balance and sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA). The heat wave could also lead animals to cardiac arrest. When asked that how could the animals affected by heat wave to be assessed? Dr. Jamshaid replied that the stress in beef cattle was detectable by homeostatic mechanisms (panting, sweating, and urination) and behavioral alterations such as a reduction in activity, increased water intake, and reduced feed intake. About precautions to avoid animals from severe weather conditions, Dr. Jamshaid suggested farmers to construct sheds or keep their animals under shadow to avoid them from extreme heat. The animals should be given fresh water access for 24 hours. The pregnant and lactating animals should be given proper care and attention during the heat wave. The cattle should not be exposed to direct sunlight. The animals should be fed green fodder. Wanda and mineral should also be given as these provide immunity to animals. He also advised farmers to vaccinate their animals against different diseases as per schedule.