With heat indexes soaring over 100 degrees this week, livestock need to be closely monitored to prevent health and production problems, said Ted Funk, University of Illinois Extension specialist in agricultural engineering.

"Dairy cows will especially be impacted by a hot week," Funk said. "If producers don't anticipate problems in hot weather, cows could go off feed, produce less milk and even experience reproductive failure."

Funk said there are three priorities dairy producers should focus on — shade, air flow and water.

"Fortunately this week, despite the high air temperatures predicted in the mid-90s, the dew point is expected to remain around 68 or 69," Funk said. "Dew point, or the measure of moisture in the air, doesn't change very fast unless a weather front comes through. If you have a sustained period of stable weather like we should have this week, you can look at the morning dew point and determine if it's going to be a dangerous or manageable day."

Dairy producers should expect a manageable week if dew points stay under 70, Funk said. When dew points are under 70, producers have enough cooling potential to keep cows comfortable and productive.