As summer begins and temperatures increase, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Livestock Specialist Brian Freking says it’s important for cattle producers to understand and avoid heat stress in cattle. Cattle have an upper critical temperature approximately 20 degrees cooler than humans. They can be in the danger zone for extreme heat stress at 80 or 90 degrees.
Humidity also is a stress that intensifies ambient temperature problems by making body heat dissipation more difficult. Freking says cattle sweat very little, so the primary mechanism they have to remove internal heat is by breathing the warm air out of their body, which is easier to do in lower humidity.