Experts from the University of Florida and Texas A&M continue their road show in the U.S. next spring.

We joined nearly 50 dairy producers in Okeechobee, Fla., yesterday for the first leg of the Heat Stress Road Show. The presentations were full of great statistics and facts based on research done at many universities in North America and Europe. We heard from four of the world's leading researchers who are collaborating on a $1 million grant to find genetic markers for heat stress. As we've found in the genomic era, there are markers for nearly everything if we have enough data to find them. Heat stress lasts three seasons down here In Florida, heat stress is nearly a year-round problem. We've been in Florida this week with lows of 60° F and highs of 80° F. This is exactly normal temperatures for the southernmost area of the continental U.S. Some highlighted takeaways from the conference include:
  • Don't forget about dry cows and heifers. Research has shown that adequate cooling for both groups can lead to greater production in their future lactations.
  • The above being known, if space isn't available, focus cooling efforts on the highest-producing cows.
  • Remember that often one or two days of each year contain a heat wave that can kill many cows in a specific area of the country. Abating heat during these times could save millions of dollars.
  • Cows like 40° to 60° F weather. Don't shut the fans off in the barn when you're comfortable as cows will still have more heat to get rid of than you do. You're heading into air-conditioning, but they're continuing outside with a roof that keeps much of their body heat in.
We tweeted many more tidbits from our @HoardsDairyman account. Feel free to follow all of our tweets at (you don't need to make an account). Also, we specifically saved the tweets on heat stress at the following link: Again, you can browse them without making a Twitter account. The road show rolls on with four more stops, including one in Puerto Rico on Friday. Yesterday's room was full of Florida dairy producers, one Hoard's Dairyman editor, and a dairy producer from Wisconsin. All sessions begin at 10 a.m., and end at 2:45 p.m., with a free lunch catered: December 8, 2011 – Puerto Rico April 3, 2012 – Stephanville, Texas April 4, 2012 – Clovis, N.M. April 6, 2012 – Tulare, Calif. For more information, click here for a PDF brochure for the event.