Often times, when there's a debate on costs and benefits of cooling the cows, cooling wins every time. The costs are minimal as compared to the benefits they provide. There are many ways to reduce the cost of cooling and to increase the productivity of cows.
Making fans more efficient
There are several ways to make the fans even more efficient.
One way is to add thermostats that bring on the fans automatically based on the cow's needs.
Using thermostats will also allow the fans to be tuned on in stages to help reduce peak usage, saving cost.
Another way reduce cost is to attach a variable-frequency drive. this will automatically increase speed of fan depending on temperature of barn.
Often times, investing in technology pays off in the longer run through a combination of saving variable costs and improve production.
During summer time, cows' demand for water increases tremendously.
Ensure ample of fresh water is available to every cow whenever they need it.
Water can also be used to cool the cows.
One way is to use lower volume systems such as misters, foggers and low-pressure cooling which provide the needed benefits of heat abatement.
Another thing to consider is to provide cooling in the holding area as it is the hottest and most stressful part of a cow's day.
Focusing on cooling in the holding area will reduce peak stress load and it uses less water tan continually running high-volume system.
Getting more value for your money
Cost of cooling may seemed high at first, but the benefits quickly outweigh any cost.
Just by turning on the fats, milk production can increase tremendously.
Cows also need additional air flow to help maintain milk production.
As temperature rises, the benefits of cooling only increase.
Not only does it prevent lower milk production during summer, it also helps the cow to reach their full potential for lactation later on
Beyond milk production
Benefits of cooling your herd is more than just higher milk production.
Conception rates also increases if the cows are cooled.
A comfortable and cool cow is also more likely to lie at their stalls.
Each additional of lying will net an extra 0.5 - 1kg of milk.
Lying will also result in less hoof issues like white-line diseases.
Without sufficient cooling, cows will be stressed, hence extra energy is needed to fight off that stress causing weakened immune system.
This will cause more vet bills, lost in milk production and possibly even culling more cows.
Therefore, the added benefits of improved reproduction, lower vet ills and better hoof health will quickly add up and outweigh any cost of implementing cooling.
Do not neglect dry cows
Dry cows are often neglected until it is ready to calve again.
The truth is, the dry cows are the future of your herd.
Studies have shown that cows cooled during dry period will produce more milk throughout the lactation cycle.
Calves of dry cows will also benefit more as they are born healthier and get a better head start as compared to non-cooled dry cows.
As a producer, it is easy to focus the present but it is also equally important to keep in mind the future of your herd and make decisions that will be beneficial to the herd on a long term basis.