Keeping the dairy cows cool at Kerr Family Farm in Arizona's summer heat

With Arizona's scorching summer heat, most of us can stay inside in the air conditioning.

But, for hundreds of farmers across Arizona, their priority is keeping their livelihood going and their livestock safe.

Over at the Kerr Family Farms, there are over 1,100 dairy cows, and looking after them during our harsh Arizona summer is quite the feat.

"My family has been dairy farming since 1927," says Wes Kerr.

You’ve probably tried their milk, but meet the Buckeye ladies who produce it.

"Our job is to keep the cows healthy and comfortable and happy and milk them. So the better we do our job the more milk they give," Kerr said.

But of course this time of year, high temperatures can turn things a little sour. The cows actually produce less milk.

"During the summer, it really does affect milk production. We see a drop close to 20% or so. A lot of them don’t want to eat as much, so they are eating fewer calories, and also they are burning off some calories to try to keep themselves cool," Kerr explained.

That’s why he and his team are working around the clock to keep them cool and happy. Especially the newborn calves.

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"We provide them with cooling and misters, and so we do everything we can to keep them cool. We make sure they have plenty of water, plenty of clean feed available to them, and we also make sure they have plenty of space, so it’s really important that there’s no overcrowding or anything like that," he said.

The fans and misters automatically turn on when the temperature hits a certain point. This time of year, they’re running 24/7.

The cows also get access to shade and spend time indoors when they get milked, which is at least three times a day. They enjoy a cool bath each time, too.

"Those cows want to get milked a lot, so it feels good to the cows. They really do like it. If we are ever behind schedule, we either have a mechanical issue where we are down, but the cows are mad. They will line up at the gate, they’ll start mooing at me saying, ‘Hey, let us in,’" Kerr said.

Once they’ve been milked, it gets cooled down in huge vats and ready for the store.

"We are producing 7,993 gallons of milk a day on the farm," he said.

Usually, fans will start to shut down around October when the heat cools off. Luckily, our Arizona winter makes up for the harsh summer.