• Jin Gan

10 Tips To Keep Dairy Cows Cool


During summer, cows will experience heat stress which will cause a loss of appetite and drop in milk production. Here are 10 tips to help beat the heat and alleviate heat stress:

1) Plenty of water

  • Cows that are producing more milk will require more water.

  • Ensure there are plenty of fresh water available for the cows at all times.

  • Make sure there is at least 3 inches per cow in the pen space along the water trough to reduce competition among cows.

2) Shade

  • Studies have shown that there is an increase in milk production for cows that were offered shade in pasture.

  • Besides high producing cows, make sure to include and offer heifers and dry cows shade as well.

3) Fans

  • Fans will help to radiant heat.

  • Fans should be spread across the barn to create good airflow and to cool all areas in the barn.

4) Sprinklers

  • Sprinklers combined with fan is one of the most effective ways to remove heat in most commercial barns by using evaporation to help cool cows.

  • A good sequence is to have the sprinklers on for about 3 minutes and then allow the fan to evaporate the water and cool the animals.

5) Misters

  • During dry climate, farms are encouraged to use misters attached to fan to help provide evaporative cooling of air in the barn.

  • Misters will provide fine spray that is designed to evaporate before settling on the beds.

  • These systems work well in low humidity and high airflow areas.

  • Avoid using these systems in high humidity and closed environments.

6) Feeding fats

  • Decrease concentration and supplement fats such as rumen bypass fats can help to increase energy density of diet while decreasing heat produced by fermentation.

  • However, do not increase fats above 6.5% of dry matter.

  • Decreasing forage content or feed higher quality forage will also help to reduce heat from fermentation.

7) Fresh cows

  • During summer, fresh cows are more likely to be affected by mastitis, ketosis and other diseases because cows will eat less during this period and immune function will be lower.

  • Focus on the fresh cows and diagnose these problems early and address them quickly.

  • With heat stress, it is even more crucial to diagnose the problem early.

8) Holding pen

  • One of the hottest place in the farm is the holding pen due to high density of cows.

  • Make sure there is enough space between the cows to radiate heat.

  • Holding pen should also have fans and sprinklers to help alleviate heat stress.

9) Don't add stress

  • Do not do anything that adds stress to the cows.

  • Do no overwork the cows, move them repeatedly or give vaccinations on hot days.

10) Tunnel ventilation

  • One of the most effective ways for smaller farms is to use a combination of cooling cells and tunnel ventilation.

  • This will help decrease temperature of barn by up to 10 degrees.

  • However, this method is not suitable for large scale facility.

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