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Cow heat stress mitigated in Denmark

Volsgård I/S is owned by Torben Thorsen and Vagn Rasmussen. Volsgård is a family farm belonging to Vagn’s family. Vagn is a 4th generation farmer. Torben has worked at Volsgård since 1997 and became a co-owner in 2001. It has since been run as a partnership firm. The farm has 250 ha of plant cultivation. The livestock comprises 300 Holstein breeding dairy cows, and the annual milk quota is 3.3 million kg of milk – delivering 3.5 million kg. The average output per cow is 12,300 kg of ECM (Energy Corrected Milk) per year.

The investment for five breeze fans was DKK 125,000. The daily production at Volsgård approx. 10,000 kg milk If production drops due to heat stress by around 10%, output falls by 1,000 kg milk per day, which at the current price of DKK 2.43 equates to a loss of DKK 2,430.
There are an average of 16 days with a shed temperature of over 25°C when the cows can be expected to hyperventilate. With the breeze fans this sharp decline in production can be avoided, increasing income by some DKK 40,000 a year. Payback time: approx. 3 years.

Heat stress and sharp production declines.

In periods of high temperature, the cows tended to suffer from heat stress which led to hyperventilation, in turn causing a sharp decline in production and an increase in somatic cell count (lower transfer price per kg of milk). There are no official records for the drop in production, but Torben estimates it at around 10%.

Install Munters breeze fans.

To counteract heat stress and sharp declines in production during hot periods, Vagn and Torben decided to install Munters breeze fans. Thanks to the breeze fans, Volsgård farm now avoids heat stress and sharp drops in milk production. “We have no idea how much the air speed over the cows increases when the breeze fans are running, but it’s clearly enough to prevent them suffering from heat stress and starting to hyperventilate. The noise level from the breeze fans is extremely low, and can in no way stress the animals. So we can maintain our production levels, even on hot days.” Torben Thorsen, co-owner of the farm. The investment for five breeze fans was DKK 125,000. Daily production at Volsgård approx. 10,000 kg milk If production drops due to heat stress by around 10%, output falls by 1,000 kg milk per day, which at the current price of DKK 2.43 equates to a loss of DKK 2,430. There are an average of 16 days with a shed temperature of over 25°C when the cows can be expected to hyperventilate. With the breeze fans this sharp decline in production can be avoided, increasing income by some DKK 40,000 a year. Payback time: approx. 3 years.

Quick facts

  • Higher milk production and transfer price per kg of milk despite hot weather
  • Better living conditions for its livestock

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