Pre-Planning of Farm for Summer Management in North India

Dr. Deesha Gupta,  Dr. Revathy T

MVSc Scholar
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

India is a subtropical country with a wide range of temperature patterns from January to December throughout the entire country. Due to the lack of proximity to the sea and the consequent moderate coastal climate, North India is more affected by this temperature variation, which can be extremely hot or extremely cold during the summer and winter, respectively.Here, the long summers start in April and peak in June, when the mercury reaches a temperature of roughly 49 °C, causing animals to experience a condition known as heat stress.The situation worsens during monsoons when high temperature is coupled with high humidity, making it harder for dairy animals to release heat to the surroundings.

All domestic livestock, especially dairy animals with high genetic merit, are negatively affected by heat stress in terms of reproductive, physiological, and production performance. Farm production falls by around a gallon per day when animals are subjected to high environmental temperature. Even a minor failure in the care of new-born animals may have a long-lasting negative impact on their ability to thrive, resist sickness, and perform well in terms of production. Animals kept improperly throughout the summer may consume 10 to 30 percent less dry matter and have a 10 percent lower capacity to produce milk. In addition, the oxidative stress brought on by excessive heat impairs animals’ resistance to disease and makes them more vulnerable to many illnesses that emerge during the subsequent rainy season. These issues could have a severe financial impact on dairy farms of all sizes. As a result, getting a farm ready before the summer season begins is crucial and requires extra consideration in order to ensure the wellbeing of the animals

Some of the key strategies to get your farm ready for the hot summer season are listed in the list below


It is one of the basic requirements of farm in summers. Animals can freely express their potential when kept in shade. Provide well ventilated as well as clean space to house dairy animals with anti-slippery concrete floor and drainage slops in order to remove urine, dung and waste water from the animal shed. Insulation can be applied on top of a roof to keep it from overheating. This can be done with asbestos sheets and other regional materials. On really hot days, a grass covering of thatch up to 4 inches thick can be placed to the roof. These layers serve as heat insulators, keeping the interior temperature of the animal housing low. Sunlight can be reflected off of animal houses’ roofs by painting them white or by attaching aluminium sheets that are shiny. For optimal air circulation and to shelter the animals from the heat of the roof, an animal house’s roof must be at least 10 feet tall. Cover the animal house’s windows, doors, and other open areas with bags, then pour water on the sacks. Fans and coolers should be there in the shed to remove warm accumulated air from the shed. Coolers and fans can lower the temperature by 10°. For use inside animal houses, fans should be 36-48 inches in size and installed on the wall at 30° angles at a height of around 5 feet. To keep the 20 square foot area extremely chilly, a cooler is adequate.


Type of animalFloor space requirement (m2)Maximum no of animals / penHeight of the shed (cm)
Covered areaOpen area
Bulls12.024.01175 cm. in medium and heavy rain fall and
220 cm. in dry areas.
Down – calver12.012.01
Young – calves1.02.030
Old – calves2.04.030

 Floor space requirement of each animal vary as per the age and sex of the individual. It should be taken into consideration while designing the farm. Proper movement of air as well as animals can be ensured by avoiding overcrowding so that animal can acclimatize to external heat by showing thermoregulatory mechanism in the form of panting, sweating etc. The floor space requirement is as under.


The most economical and easy way to keep the animal cool is to bath them in pond or any nearby water body and leave them for at least 4 hrs a day. This practice is very common in case of buffaloes, known as wallowing. Herd of buffaloes can be easily seen dipped inside the lake or pond during hot summers. But the above-mentioned method is not possible in all dairy farm because of absence of nearby water body or work force to take animals from farm to outside. The next best option for the dairy farm to keep the region cool and allow for lower temperatures for the animals is to install sprinklers and foggers. These will shower drops of water over body of the animal in every 30 seconds. Thus, the animal will experience evaporative cooling mechanism through mechanical and natural ventilation. Studies have shown that spraying animals with cold water around noon can help them perform better during breeding and production.


Animals in advance stage of pregnancy, young animals as well as Breeding bulls needs regular movement in outside environment. The open area should be surrounded by shady long trees from all of its edges. These trees will serve both the purpose of providing fresh air as well as a cover against hot summer winds.


When the external temperature is higher than the body’s internal temperature, animal refrain to eat or drink something because a large amount of heat is generated during digestion. It is generally advisable to provide fodder and most preferably, green fodder at coolest time of the day i.e., in early morning and in evening. This will serve dual benefit of relishing each gulp of fodder and thereby obtaining each and every nutrient required by the body. Secondly, green fodder contains 60-90% of water which will provide water from time to time and maintains the water balance inside the body.Farmers are made to sow crops which serves as green fodder during Feb-Mar to ensure sufficient and continuous supply of green fodder throughout the summer. Some important points related to food are as follows

  1. Regular lime cleaning of troughs is advised. Don’t feed animals kitchen leftovers.
  2. Don’t give animals foods high in carbohydrates, such as flour, bread, rice, etc. For a healthy diet, maintain a 40:60 grain to fodder ratio.
  3. Summer-grown sorghum might have poisonous components that are bad for animals. In order to prepare the sorghum crop for animal consumption in the absence of rain, water it twice or three times.
  4. Soluble fibre must make up 18–19% of animal feed. Additionally, yeast (which aids in the digestion of fibre) and niacin, which increases energy, can be added to animal diets as supplements.
  5. Since less grain is being consumed, animals can also be fed fat-rich feed like mustard cake, cotton seed cake, soybean cake, oil, or ghee. The amount of dry matter in the animal feed is up to 3%. Additionally, 3–4% fat should be provided in the diet. Fat shouldn’t make up more than 7-8 percent of the entire volume.
  6. Lactating animals should be fed up to 18% more throughout the summer. Animals who consume too much protein excrete it through their urine and sweat. Give stone as a calcium supplement to the diet to keep milk production steady.

There should be a healthy practice in every farm to cut green fodder when in abundance, dry it and preserve it using appropriate method. This will enhance the nutrition of the fodder along with making it more palatable and delicious to eat. Animals should be allowed to graze at coolest time of the day. By this, without getting exposed to heat stress they will eat food as per their will to the fullest.

In contrast to this, drinking capacity of animal automatically increases during summers. Animals should be provided fresh and cool water three to four times a day, especially after milking.Drinking water should be set up in animal shelters with plenty of animals in at least two locations to prevent annoyance. An animal typically need 3-5 litres of water every hour to drink.  Always keep water and water troughs clean. The temperature of the water should be 70-80 0F, which is liked very much by animals Arrangements should be made to keep the water tank in the shaded place to avoid it getting heat by the sunrays. If possible, underground pipeline is much beneficial to the one which is fully exposed to the environmental temperature.


Due to the sodium lost through sweating in the heat, salt may be a macro-mineral that is needed. Even though cattle mostly have sweat glands on their nostrils rather than all over their bodies, they nonetheless lose salts through perspiration (exceptions are the loose-skinned, large-eared Indian-breed cattle like the Brahman or Nellore). As a result, in the summer, salt, together with water and a balanced diet of protein, energy, fibre, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients, is one of the most essential nutrients for cattle. You can also add salt in water buckets in appropriate quantity. Not only this, this will also protect animal from developingPICA, a deficiency disease related to phosphorus where animal feels deprived of food and eats anything coming its way.


Physiological parameters of animal in the form of respiration rate, rectal temperature, pulse rate, core body temperature should be recorded from early summers regularly so as to detect minor change in peak summers. Respiration rate should fall below 30, whereas normal rectal temperature of animals is 99.5°F to 101.5°F.

8. Look out for early Sings of Heat Stress

You should train your farm personnel to recognise the symptoms of heat stress in cattle. Reduced activity, less feeding, and crowding in the shadow are a few of these. Additionally, cows experiencing heat stress will exhibit open mouth breathing and occasionally drooling. They might shake or lose their footing in terrible circumstances. It’s crucial to be aware of these symptoms so that, when you do, you can take action to improve cooling. Following signs related to heat stress should be kept under consideration in order to detect stress at its early stages and take precautionary measure thereby avoiding heavy economic loss from much elevated signs and symptoms.

  1. Animal refrain to eat something
  2. Altered physiological responses in the form of laboured breathing, rapid heartbeat, high rectal temperature and body temperature.
  3. Excessive salivation and protrusion pf tongue should not be ignored.
  4. Uneasiness and increased urge to find shade and stand under it
  5. Decline in milk production.
  6. Animal will not come into heat and will show anoestrous.Buffaloes and crossbred cows frequently lose their reproductive effectiveness and have extended oestrous cycles. As such the chances of pregnancy are declined considerably
  7. Early embryonic mortality is also noticed because of change in hormonal response.
  8. Composition of milk gets altered in the form of varied fat, protein and SNF content.
  9. Breeding potential of bull also decreases with increasing sperm abnormality in semen.
  10. Growth and sexual maturity all shows delay in heat stressed animal.


Although lastly discussed, this plays a very important role in breeding of animal. Appropriate selection of animal is necessary to avoid future economic loss in the farm. Many researches related has already been carried out to select Novel SNPs in heat shock protein which aids in selection of animal.


To avoid the onset of these diseases during the rainy season, vaccinations for HS, FMD, BQ, etc. should be scheduled for animals in the summer.

Local veterinarian should be consulted in any case.