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NMSU to sponsor Dairy Heat Stress Road Show in Clovis April 4

Heat stress - especially during the hot summer months - does not only affect people. Heat stress is responsible for reducing milk production in dairy cows and large declines in pregnancy rates, which costs the dairy industry millions of dollars annually.

In an effort to educate producers about strategies to combat the effects of heat stress and improve cow comfort, New Mexico State University is sponsoring the Dairy Heat Stress Road Show April 4 in Clovis at the Clovis Civic Center. The event has proceedings in English or Spanish at each program and is free and open to the public.

"The Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in collaboration with several universities, is a series of educational programs that already has traveled to Florida and Puerto Rico and will travel next to Texas, New Mexico and California," said Todd Bilby, associate professor and Texas AgriLife Extension Service dairy specialist at Stephenville, according to information provided by Texas A&M University. "The effort's purpose is to teach producers how to overcome some of the negative effects of heat stress by implementing strategies such as nutritional changes, hormonal treatments and facility improvement."

As a part of the Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, dairy producers are surveyed about the program and the impact heat stress has on their cows and dairy operation.

The road show team is working to develop the right tools for producers who want to maximize cow comfort, increase summer fertility, and improve milk production all in a way that maximizes profitability. In its toolbox, the team has included software tools, National Dairy Resource Areas on websites, educational publications and new research and educational programs like the Dairy Heat Stress Road Show, which is part of an international USDA grant to overcome the effects of heat stress on fertility in dairy cattle.

"We are so glad to be able to bring this line up to New Mexico," said Robert Hagevoort, NMSU Extension dairy specialist. "This program should have a lot of excellent and useful information for producers with another hot New Mexico summer right around the corner."

During the road show, Pete Hansen, a distinguished professor at the University of Florida, will discuss cooling strategies during heat stress. Bilby will talk with participants about strategies to improve reproduction during the summer. Jose Santos, an associate professor at the University of Florida, will give information on nutrition programs for a heat-stressed herd. Albert DeVries, an associate professor at the University of Florida, will discus the economics of heat stress and its implications for dairy management.

The sessions run from 10 a.m.- 2:45 p.m. with lunch provided.

For more information on the road show, contact Hagevoort at 575-985-2292 or dairydoc@nmsu.edu; or Stephanie Prater at 254-968-4144 or snprater@ag.tamu.edu.

To learn more about managing heat stress in dairy cattle or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Research and Education initiative, contact Bilby at 254-968-4144 or trbilby@ag.tamu.edu.

The Dairy Heat Stress Road Show also has sessions scheduled April 3 at the Southwest Regional Dairy Center in Stepheville, Texas; and April 6 at the Consumer Education Pavilion at the Vet Medicine Center in Tulare, Calif.