Dairy cows feed at Heins Family Farm near Higginsville, Mo. Fans and misters keep the barns cool during this summer's record temperatures.
Credit Scott Pham for NPR
The new smartphone app Thermal Aid can help farmers detect the threat of heat stress in cows.
Credit Courtesy of the University of Missouri
Herd manager Chris Heins greets a calf at his dairy farm near Higginsville, Mo. It will be about two years before a calf like this one is ready to be milked, so keeping them comfortable and healthy is a top concern.
When it's hot and humid, you probably don't want to move much and aren't very hungry. The same goes for cows; but when they don't eat, farmers lose money.
Researchers at the University of Missouri think they can help avoid those losses. They've produced a new mobile app that can detect the threat of heat stress in cows using nothing more than a smartphone.
Junior Roberts’ cows near Billmore, Missouri, are lucky. The grass they’re grazing on just tested negative for high levels of nitrate. But Roberts says he’s not through testing his 1,400 acres, and he knows that many farmers are selling off their herds rather than pay for alternative foods for their cattle.
“You’d be better off to sell them then to turn them in on a field where they’re gonna lay down and die,” he says. “It’s a problem if that’s all they’ve got left to eat and it’s poison. It ain’t gonna do them no good. You’re gonna lose them plum completely.”
The Columbia Tribune reported this morning that a large and confused steer was loose in Columbia's East Campus. The 1300 pound Angus steer was apparently a privately owned animal that escaped while being transported for slaughter at MU's facilities. One person was injured, and two police vehicles were damaged.
Video of the steer on it's morning run here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUkS7r4Oe8I&feature=player_embedded
A bull that was on the loose in the East Campus neighborhood Tuesday morning was euthanized after a person was injured trying to capture it. Capt. Brian Weimer of the University of Missouri Police Department said he is unsure how the animal became free and the department is investigating.