man and woman kneeling in front of cow in dairy barn stall with woman stretching out her hand to feed the cow silage

FFAR Grant Helps Heat-Stressed Dairy Cows Weather Increasing Temperatures

Generating Advanced Animal Systems Solutions
Generating Advanced Animal Systems Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. Tim Kurt

Dr. Joseph McFadden

Cornell University

Year Awarded  2019

FFAR award amount   $736,392

Total award amount   $1,470,000

Location   Ithaca, NY

Program   Seeding Solutions

Matching Funders   AB VistaAdisseoBalchem CorporationBerg + SchmidtElancoPhibro Animal Health and Vetagro S.p.A.

  • Advanced Animal Systems

The demand for dairy products and milk globally is expected to increase 57% by 2050. However, rising temperatures are compromising the American dairy industry’s ability to meet these demands because a cow’s milk production can decline up to 70% in warm weather. Holsteins, by far the dominant breed in US dairy farming, begin to suffer heat stress at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These heat-stressed dairy cows cost the American dairy industry an alarming $1.5 billion annually. Heat-stressed dairy cows also have reduced fertility, are more likely to develop infectious and metabolic diseases and may succumb to premature death.

Why this research is important

This research supports sustainable animal systems through innovative technologies, environmentally sound production practices and advancements in animal health and welfare. It also has the potential to develop solutions that can improve the American dairy industry.

Climate change and extreme heat represent key barriers for the sustainable production of milk that meets consumer expectations for quality as well as the rising global demand for dairy foods. We must act now to develop innovative solutions that revolutionize how we feed heat-stressed cows to ensure optimum animal health and welfare while achieving gains in efficient milk production. Dr. Joseph McFadden
Associate Professor of dairy cattle biology in the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Details About this Research 

This research is part of FFAR’s Seeding Solutions annual grant program that funds audacious research supporting each of our Challenge Areas. The pioneering science funded through this program convenes unique partners from across the food and agriculture sector to solve bold challenges.

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