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Heat and dry weather make it hard for farm animals to stay cool

Experts said farmers all over the country are struggling to keep their animals cool and safe during hotter weather.

CORRYTON, Tenn. — Even though it's been a wet week in parts of Tennessee, the summer has been abnormally dry, according to many experts. Some farmers are struggling to find ways to keep their animals cool, comfortable and safe in the intense summer weather.

"The biggest three things that we challenge are heat, humidity, and flies," said Adam Thompson, a cattle farmer in Corryton. "For us as cattle farmers, during the summer, it's about keeping them comfortable." 

He said he has around 130 cows, and he is not the only farmer that struggles to keep animals cool. Experts say farmers all over the country are faced with the same problem.

Since the inside of a barn can often get hotter than the outdoors, farmers like Thompson have to keep the barn doors closed. 

"If there's a barn available, they'll congregate in the barn," he said. "There's not as much airflow, so they're not they're not cool." 

Iowa State University said cows spending too much time in temperatures above 80 degrees can develop "heat stress," which could lead to brain damage, lower milk production, and a higher risk of catching diseases. 

While Thompson's cows are unable to cool off in the barn, he has enough trees for his cows to get some shade throughout the warm weather.

"We've got a lot of trees," he said. "If we can make sure they have enough shade, enough water, and keep them comfortable enough ... They're going to be cows, and they're going to do what they need to do."

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