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Dairy farmers all over the world have something in common. During at least one period a year, the milk production drops during hot weather. Most dairy farmers operate with tight margins and are subject to tough supply contracts with dairies. What happens then when a hot period prevents cows from producing enough milk to honor the contract? Munters offers several dairy ventilation solutions to prevent loss for farmers.
Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) is another concept that plays a major role for the dairy farmer profitability since the farmers’ cost for animal feed is a main expenditure consisting of 60-70% of the overall producer costs. These producer costs are impacted by climate control performance through the FCR. There is an explicit correlation between maintaining control of indoor temperature avoiding temperature fluctuations and optimized FCR. Even the smallest changes in FCR at any given feed price can have a substantial impact on financial margins.
Providing proper ventilation has a dramatic effect on overall productivity and animal welfare. Dairy cows not affected by heat stress produce more milk; have lower respiration rates, higher conception rates (resulting in more cow pregnancies) and overall better health.
When cows are comfortable, they lie down and thereby produce more milk, so this is the wanted behavior and it can be induced by using the correct dairy ventilation design and equipment. Munters provide equipment for natural and forced ventilation houses.
The ambient climate conditions of the specific location decide which solution to choose. Average summer temperatures and humidity levels as well as other specific weather scenarios are things that the climate control system needs to be ready for. The barn system and how the cows are stalled are other parameters that affect the design and layout of the dairy ventilation system.
Installation of cooling equipment of some kind is very common today. Even shorter periods of warm weather and elevated RH levels negatively affect the milk production, fertility, conception and pregnancy rates of the cow. At moderately high temperature and humidity levels, it can be enough to create a wind chill effect over the dairy cow’s body by using fans to generate a high enough air speed (3 m/s) over the animal’s skin, in order to ensure sufficient heat removal and ensure animal comfort. At higher temperatures and humidity levels it is an absolute necessity to use cooling equipment in order to keep up with required production levels and animal welfare.
Naturally ventilated dairy cow barns
For naturally ventilated dairy barns, our experts would recommend a misting system which sprays a fine mist over the cows during the hottest period. The capacity of the nozzles can create a temperature reduction of 5°C.
Using a misting system has another advantage; it can also be utilized to soak the dairy stable or barn for cleaning.
Ridge ventilation provides an excellent combination of ventilation and light dispersion as an integral part of the natural ventilation for dairy barns and stables. As an added way of opening up the barn for natural air intake, ventilation panels or curtains provide an excellent combination of ventilation control and light requirements and form an integral part of the natural ventilation for dairy cow stables.
The primary use of large circulation fans in livestock housing is to provide comfort cooling to the animals. For this very purpose, it is wise to use specifically designed circulation fans to provide the maximum cooling footprint at dairy cow level. Dairy barn circulation can be optimized by offering numerous mounting options and the possibility to tilt the fan in order to provide the best airspeed footprint and animal comfort.
Another piece of the natural ventilation puzzle is a high volume low speed ceiling fan, engineered to circulate a vast amount of air, providing an efficient air circulation movement for dairy housing. Such a ceiling fan creates slow, gentle breezes to lower the effective temperature during warm periods and to circulate the rising warm air downward to ground level during cold periods.
Dairy cow barns with forced ventilation, cross ventilation or tunnel ventilation
Enclosed dairy production buildings with forced ventilation is mainly used in moderate and hot climate areas. In these solutions, cooling is predominantly achieved by use of evaporative cooling pads, framed by a gutter system and wetted by a water tank and pump. The evaporative process takes place by use of extraction fans usually placed on the wall across from the cooling pads (cross ventilation) or at the gable end of the stable extracting cool air from the pads all along the house (tunnel ventilation). This pad cooling set up can provide up to 10°C temperature reduction depending on the ambient conditions.
The climate control equipment installed in the house is automatically managed by a control unit and by means of a communication system. The farmer can check the climate control system in the dairy house directly from his own PC. Modern controller units receive all inputs, process the data and all output signals are sent by the Farm Dairy with the ability to control and manage 3 temperature zones and controls ventilation through THI index values or temperature. The device can handle the fogging system and soaking cycles as well as curtains to set temperature.
Dips in milk production can be avoided. A carefully designed an optimized ventilation or climate control system can help farmers, anywhere in the world, to improve profitability for dairy farms, keep a consistent milk production to comply with commercial agreements, often at an average payback time of less than three years.
Munters has the equipment and knowledge to help you take control and produce your perfect climate.
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