Tag Archives: Washington Dairy Farms

Summer 2015 already has Washington dairy cows panting dollar signs

By: Liz Whitefield and Kaitlin Miller

Whether the cows are raised on the east side of Washington State or even the traditionally cooler west of the Cascades during the summer months; it is important that animals are kept comfortable in high temperatures to prevent them from stress and ultimately, losses in milk production and reproduction rates. Washington State ranks 4th in milk production per cow for the U.S., and ranks 10th in total milk production (USDA, 2014). Over 6.5 million pounds of milk is produced annually from Washington’s 400+ dairy farms totaling around 273,000 cows. The state’s dairy industry is dependent on healthy productive cows even with these record high temperatures this summer. The estimated yearly cost in the U.S. from cows affected by heat stress was about $2.4 billion with minimal heat stress abatement practices in place approximately 10 years ago. This economic impact can only expected to be much greater today. When heat stress abatement measures are implemented on dairies, there is a significant improvement in health and a significant economic reduction ($1.7 billion; St. Pierre et. al. 2003). Continue reading