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Date: 6/11/2013

Title: Summer Heat and Cattle Stress

At this time last year, much of the lower 48 had experienced some very hot weather. So far, the summer of 2013 has started off with no major or prolonged heat waves. However, it won’t be long before we encounter of periods of extended heat in many areas, especially as we head into the end of June and into July and August.

All long-term weather patterns continue indicate that the summer of 2013 will not be hot as last summer. However, we still expect some hot days ahead as well as the stressful conditions on cattle that accompany those hot days.

During periods of hot temperatures and high humidity, livestock losses can occur from hot weather related stress. Hot weather related stress is particularly hazardous to livestock in feedlots, sorting and holding pens, trucks and rail cars. When high relative humidity combines with temperatures of 80 degrees or more it adds to the likelihood of profit-stealing losses if necessary precautions are not taken.

Where do we think that heat and humidity will be a concern as we head into the heart of summer?

In the graphics below we have highlighted the areas where we think heat stress will be a concern this summer season.

In the month of July, the heat will be a concern in the far west, southwest and southern Plains. Watch out for the heat in New Mexico and west Texas. East Texas and some portions of the Mississippi Delta will experience rounds of hot and humid conditions. There may be some episodes of hot and humid weather in July across portions of the central Corn Belt, especially late June through July. 

For August, we are expecting many of the same areas that we are concerned about in July receiving more heat in August. August could be quite hot, especially early in the month across the southern plains, southern Rockies and far west. Occasional periods of heat and humidity will be found at times across portions of the Midwest as well in August. The far northern Rockies and northern Plains are not expected to have excessive periods of heat in July and August as temperatures will be closer to normal, if not below normal at times.