Munters cooling pastures cows
It is a widely held belief that pasture-based cows don’t require a climate control system. Around the world, there are about 300 million cows. No clear statistic can show how many are in-house and how many are in a pasture system. However, according to several professional estimates, more than 50% of the cows are raised in a pasture and the rest are indoors.
Over the past year Munters SA, assisted by Gil Inbar (Munters Dairy Segment GM), has been publicizing the importance of reducing heat stress on pasture-based cows in South Africa.
“In several investigations that we made, we learned that milk production in pasture-based herds drops at the beginning of the South African summer, when temperatures begin to rise. During this season, milk reduction can be reduced by over 50%” according to Gil.
Two main factors impact milk production in this season: the first one is definitely heat stress (a modifiable factor), while the second factor is the quality of grass. According to many South African farmers that we interviewed, the summer months’ hot temperatures and high humidity is responsible for more than 50% of the reduction in milk production.
In an MPO seminar held in South Africa last year, we presented this information to a group of 100 farmers, after which the farmers and Munters reps held a long, in-depth conversation on the subject.
After this seminar (and a follow-up visit to a farm), three farmers agreed to make the necessary investment and implement a climate control system for their pasteurized cows.
How Does it Work?
The system is quite simple; it is a direct cooling system that is installed in the area where cows wait before entering into the milking parlor.
In most South African farms, cows spend around two hours every day in this waiting area before going into the milking parlor. In some cases, there is no shed in this area.
The Munters climate control system improves the shed area’s atmosphere. Putting the system in place consists of installing MFS52” fans in combination with a water system. The system is operative when the cows enter the shed and continues cooling them while they wait to go to the milking parlor. Munters recommends using this system two times a day (immediately before milking) and one additional time in-between milking.
Munters is currently experimenting with the system. According to our estimates, we expect:
- an increase in milk production
- increased fertility
- lower Somatic Cell count
- improvement in tangential factors such as fat, protein, and lameness
In our next article, we will report on the experiment’s results and what these farmers achieve.