This summer, heatwaves and dry weather in much of southern Europe together with rainfall and flooding in other parts of the continent have combined to produce one of the toughest summer seasons of the last years. Other parts of the world have also been stricken by intense heatwaves and droughts.

According to the International Panel on Climate Change these events are linked to the ongoing climate warming and can be expected to intensify in the coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

With heatwaves intensifying and increasing in frequency, dairy stockbreeders should be prepared and make sure their cattle are protected against heat stress.

A new solution to cope with animal heat stress, within FarmLife®

Extreme temperatures are a threat for dairy farms. Heat stress in dairy cow decreases milk production and has adverse effects on cow health and reproduction.

ITK’s new offer « Heat’Adapt® » integrates Farmlife®,  helps dairy farmers to anticipate heat stress and adopt mitigation measures at the right moment, to minimize negative impacts on cattle and -limit economic loss.

Heat’Adapt® forecasts the risk of heat stress dairy cows.  This service is combined with the FeedLive and TimeLive services in FarmLife and provides insights on how the herd is coping. After the summer, the overall resilience of the farm is scored, based on heat stress impacts which are measured on herd behavior, pregnancy rate and milk production and considering the specific level of exposure. Embedded in this new service there is an innovative warranty to mitigate the economic loss in case of exceptionally hot summers.

Four tools in one

Heat’Adapt® provides four services to help dairy farmers

1. Look at the past to understand the present

The first service of Heat’Adapt® contains information on the impact of heat on dairy farms in recent years.  It shows heat stress and its impacts over the years 2019 and 2020 and forecast trends for 2021 using long range climate predictions. The aim is to increase breeders’ awareness of heat stress occurrence in their region in a clear and straightforward way.  Indeed, for regions that historically have not been stricken by heatwaves, cattle heat stress is a new issue that needs to be brought to farmers attention.

For each department it presents

  • A climatic analysis over the last 2 years: occurrence and duration of heat stress, number and intensity of heat waves (based on regional weather data);
  • A long range forecast of heat stress for the current year
  • An estimate of potential production losses and impacts on reproduction.

2. Be ready in time

Through the Farmlife application users can access to THI forecasts for the next 6 days and to THI dynamics over time. THI is calculated in real time for each farm using local weather data and its associated risk is expressed with colour coded indicators in order to provide an easy to read alert. Historical data and future forecasts are combined and displayed as dynamics over time (see below).

The objective is to alert breeders on heat stress risk so that appropriate action can be taken in time. This tool allows a close monitoring of heat stress impacts and an evaluation of the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.

It is complementary with :

  • Feed’Live®, for the detection of alterations in ingestion and respiration patterns and
  • Time’Live® for the detection of alterations in standing/lying patters, as an indicator of animal discomfort

3. Evaluate the past to adjust for the future

Soon to be available, the third service offers an analysis of heat stress resilience for each farm through the evaluation of the herd comfort, reproduction performance and milk production considering its level of risk exposure. Farms are scored according to heat stress resilience over the past year. This allows to set up an action plan before next summer.

4. Be safe

Finally, Heat’Adapt® provides access to a warranty that mitigate economic loss in case of exceptional heat stress.

It doesn’t involve any declaration or claim adjuster on site but is automatically calculated at the end of the insured period.

A tool for all seasons

In conclusion, Heat’Adapt goes beyond simple alert service. It offers an all-round assistance service that help farmers anticipate, monitor, mitigate heat stress. It does not only warn farmers about the level of heat stress affecting their cattle, but allows to develop resilience and adopt, over time, the right measures to protect cattle and milk production during heat waves. Thanks to Heat’Adapt, Farmlife has definitely become a tool for all seasons !