Beat the Heat & the Bacteria

There are many things to keep in mind when the heat and humidity ramp up and settle in. The cool nights of early summer are gone and now it’s just HOT.

The heat can be a positive thing, after all, a calf’s thermal neutral zone is between 50F-80F, making it less stressful on young calves to stay warm. That being said, there are other challenges that come with the heat.

One of the main things we see as the heat and humidity set in is sanitation becomes an even more pressing issue. All the bacteria you are worried about thrive in these hot and humid conditions, so keeping sanitation on point is vital to your summer calf program’s success.

The “danger zone” (which has been discussed in previous posts) is the temperature zone in which bacteria can multiply most rapidly. The temperature range for this “danger zone” is between 40F and 140F. While this is a wide range, you can see that most of the time in summer, you are sitting in these ranges for months at a time. This gives bacteria the opportunity to double every 20 minutes.

That being said, you can see how things can get out of hand quickly in summer.

Here are 3 things you can do to keep your calves healthy and your equipment clean during “danger zone” temperatures.

  • Regularly open and manually clean pumps and feeding equipment.
    • Even if your system automatically does a CIP cycle, at least twice a month, take apart feeding equipment to check for build up or errors in the CIP cycle.
    • At least once per week, you should send milk samples in to confirm that what you are seeing is what the calves are getting. Many times, things may look clean, but after a quick plating, you may find that that isn’t the case, or that something you couldn’t see or get to to clean manually is causing you huge problems.
  • Do a sanitation audit at least once per month.
    • Even though things may look clean, you should always be double checking to make sure that is the case. Looks can be very deceiving.
    • Make sure you are checking those hard to clean areas where bacteria can build up.
    • Make sure you are doing sanitation audits in both your calf barn AND your maternity pen.
  • Wash something random 2x per week.
    • It might seem odd, but we have found that just taking a couple minutes each week to clean something that you don’t usually think of can take your calf program from good to great.
    • Need some ideas? Check out our random cleaning list below!
  • Keep is simple.
    • Like we always say, if it’s not easy, it won’t get done. Try to make your sanitation protocols easy to follow, and the steps easy to do, and you won’t have to worry about if they are getting done or not.
    • Check out our easy 5 step sanitation process!

As summer starts to beat down the door, and bacteria starts to creep into those warm, moist areas, remember to keep your sanitation protocols sharp!

One thought on “Beat the Heat & the Bacteria

  1. Love the recommendation to clean something random twice a week. We did this when we were dairying. It helped us to look for things we ignored otherwise and cleaning one thing often times lead to seeing other things needing cleaning. In the end a clean environment has a positive impact on calves and PEOPLE!

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