At Jack Hamm’s Lima Ranch in Lodi, it’s cool to be a cow.
“So what we’re doing is cow comfort to protect the animals as much as we can," said dairyman Jack Hamm.
In the last heat wave over ten years ago, a few fans blew as the way to stay cool. Now, fans line the dairy born in 1938.
There is lots of water, too. Soakers instead of misters is the new way to go.
“And it kind of works like a swamp cooler where we put water on the cows back," Hamm said. "The wind or our fans blow it off and it cools the cow’s body temperature."
Hamm’s barns are more high tech, too. They have much higher pitched roofs with ventilation in the center. It allows the hot air to escape meaning less heat on the cows.
Heat stress equals cows less interested in producing.
During the heat wave of 2006, Lima Ranch lost 25 percent of its daily milk production.
So far, it’s holding at a loss of 10 percent since Sunday.
Bruce Blodgett with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation says it's crucial to keep cows cool for millions of reasons.
“It’s consistently in our top four commodities. It ranges between $370, $350 million up to $550 million on a good year," Blodgett said.
Even the feed like alfalfa and corn has been stressed by heat.
It means less nutrients for cows and less milk down the road.
Utter nonsense? No, not when you consider the price of milk could go up.
Moooving along less is better for cows, too.
“Happy cows make happy dairymen. So we always try to have happy cows," Hamm said.
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