What are CAFO farmers doing to keep their livestock cool?

The heat wave gripping most of the country has been especially devastating to large scale animal breeders. Tens of thousands of animals have died from the heat while inside large tin buildings.

So KRCG's Facebook Crew investigated to see what farmers are doing to keep their animals cool.

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a designated building where animals are kept and raised until they're slaughtered for food. Most Midwest CAFO farms use big fans and fog nozzles to keep their animals cool in the summer.On top of that, most farmers spray down their animals with water a few times a day.

On Facebook Michelle told us that's what they use at her family's confined hog operation. "We use a combination of misters and fans to circulate the air." But she says it's loading them for sale that's difficult. "To load out or in with the hogs, it has to be at night when it's cooler or else the pigs will over heat and stress out resulting in death sometimes. We have water hoses ready for the trucks to hook up to the trailers so the pigs can get misted on the trucks before leaving. With good management and help, it can be done, just takes a lot longer."

But another Facebook fan commented the misting sytem isn't enough to help poultry in the heat. AJ loads turkeys for a living. "A combination of fans and misters isnt enough... way too hot!"

The heat was too much for other farms across the country. A bout two weeks ago a CAFO in Kansas lost a little more than 4,000 turkeys because of the heat. The heat wave alsotook 50,000 broil chickens from a North Carolina farm. At that farm the power went out and they were without a cooling system for almost an hour.

The Minnesota Cattleman Association said it has lost several hundred cows this year to the horrible heat wave.

But a Mid-Missouri cattle feeding operation says the calves at their Huntsville location stay in good shape because they are all under cover. The black hides of angus cattle benefit from the shady conditions at Circle A Angus Ranch in Randolph County.

Marketing Manager Nick Hammett says they have about 4,500 head under cover. The open air barns also have exhaust fans every 25 feet turning over the air every few minutes.

He says the cattle drink three times as much water than they would on a normal 70 degree day. Hammett adds, the main effect of the heat is a slightly reduced rate of gain. Cattle in Circle A's feedlot gain an average 3 pounds per day in the heat instead of 3.7lbs.

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The heat wave we have been experiencing has been taking a toll on farms around the United States. A farm in North Carolina lost 50,000 chickens to the heat because their farm lost power for almost an hour.

North Carolina is not the only state experiencing problems with the heat wave so are Midwest states.

So what are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations doing to keep animals safe in this heat wave?

Tonight KRCG TMs Facebook Crew talks with local farmers to find out what their doing to keep their animals cool.