From KUT as heard on Weekend Edition Saturday:
“Any dairy farmer — commercial, small, local — are experts in dealing with heat,” says Craig Miller at Mill-King dairy in McGregor, Texas.
That is because the way cows digest food takes a lot of energy and generates a lot of heat. When it gets too warm outside, cows want to cool down. So they spend that energy panting, and as more blood flows to their skin, they sweat. They lose their appetite.
As Miller puts it: “They just stop eating. It’s harder to get feed into them.”
Without food, cows stop producing as much milk. The cows at Mill-King give about 33 percent less in the hot summer months. That means less money for this family business.
Even more troubling; Miller says he has noticed that summers are getting hotter.