July 17, 2009

Italian farmers keep their cattle cool

Soaring temperatures in Veneto, Italy, sent farmers scrambling to find innovative ways to cool their cows, the farm organization Coldiretti said Friday.

With temperatures reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit, farmers are installing fans and cold showers to keep the cows cool and producing milk, the news service ANSA reported.

Cows accustomed to summer temperatures between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are eating less, drinking more and producing 15 percent less milk than the nearly eight gallons they normally give each day.

Veneto regional Councilor Franco Manzato said the low lying areas with highest humidity make cows feel hotter than they would in dryer conditions. He said the Veneto region is a leader in technological innovations for keeping dairy cattle cool, but the fans and cold showers are increasing the farmers' energy costs.