Every year thousands of cattle from Montana to Kentucky are trucked to New Liberty Iowa to be fattened up before being taken to market. Keeping these cows comfortable and gaining weight is a top priority, but heat like this is forcing the Glenora Feed Yard to make some adjustments.
"The feeding is done before the weather and the temperatures really begin to climb."
The higher the temps climb the earlier work begins.
"We're up at four o'clock in the morning and feed them while it's cool vs. starting at 6:30 - 7:00"
Right now this herd is eating about half as much as normal. When it gets this hot cows naturally cut their intake because digesting grains actually creates a warming sensation, the exact opposite of what they need.
This is why they're fed so early in the day, but an earlier meal schedule isn't the only thing keeping these cattle cool. Everything about this building is designed to keep this herd of 1,200 head of cattle cool and healthy.
"We've actually designed our pens to have twice the number of waterers in each pen so that they always have access to water and don't have to go without water."
In addition to double the normal amount of water, the barn they’re in also keeps them in the shade all day long and it's specially designed to keep air constantly moving.
It may seem like drastic action, designing a huge barn just to keep cattle cool, but without it 100 degree temperatures could literally kill their business.
"When one does die because of the heat it takes up 35-36 animals to make up for that one dead one"
“We have to be concerned because they can go in bunches."
A heat wave similar to the one we’re experiencing right now killed more than 1,000 cows in Eastern Iowa last summer. So far there’s been no reports of any mass cattle die-offs in our region.