Performance of lactating dairy cattle housed in two-row freestall barns equipped with three different cooling systems



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Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service


One hundred fifty-nine Holstein cows (66 primiparous and 93 multiparous) were assigned to each of three different cooling systems installed in two-row freestall barns on a northeast Kansas dairy. One barn was equipped with a row of five 48-inch fans mounted every 40 ft over the freestalls and a row of 10 36-inch fans mounted every 20 ft over the cow feed line. Another barn was equipped with five 48-inch fans mounted over the freestalls. Both of these barns were also equipped with identical sprinkler systems mounted over the feed line. The third barn was equipped with a row of five 48-inch fans mounted over the freestalls. In addition to the sprinklers over the feed line, additional sprinklers were mounted on the back alley of the third barn. Data were collected for an 85- day period to evaluate the three systems under heat stress during the summer of 1999. Cows cooled with these three systems produced similar amounts of milk and consumed nearly equal amounts of feed. Summer heat stress generally reduces milk production 20%, if cooling systems are not installed. Based on this estimated loss, these systems returned over $10,000/pen/year above ownership and operational cost. These results indicated that effective cooling in a two-row freestall barn includes a sprinkler system on the feed line and properly sized and spaced fans over the freestalls.



Dairy, Environmental stress, Heat stress, Milk production