Expert Insights

Lighting Success: The Benefits of Lighting in Your Barn

Lighting is essential for everyday operations in your barn. It may seem obvious that you need lights because you have to see what you’re doing, but barn lighting is more than that! Proper barn lighting is pivotal in enhancing animal well-being, ensuring staff safety, adhering to regulatory guidelines, and optimizing overall farm operations.

What are the Common Lighting Types I Can Implement?

Low Bay Lights: Often found in breezeways, office rooms, break rooms, bathrooms, subways in parlors, and calf barns, low bay lights impact animal well-being through proper equipment care and proper care in the calf barn and milking parlor. Many of these lights ensure compliance with USDA and processor guidelines that meet regulatory standards. Additionally, these lights contribute to staff safety, minimizing accidents in dimly lit areas. 

High Bay Lights: Designed for spaces that are 14 feet and above, high bay lights are ideal for, such as housing areas, milking parlors, holding areas, breezeways, and shop buildings. These lights significantly impact animal well-being by supporting long-day photoperiods essential for their biological rhythms, facilitating proper milking processes, and enabling effective inspections. Producers who opt for high bay lights can benefit from enhanced milk preparation processes, better milking equipment utilization, and adherence to USDA guidelines. Many LED high bay lights can contribute to lower utility costs and may qualify for rebates.

Specialty Lighting: There are a variety of specialty lights on the farm, but one to highlight is the Hygiene Array, a light that can be placed in parlors and rotaries and light up the milking space right where the workers are. Richard Hill, VES-Artex’s Eastern US Sales Territory Manager, says about specialty lighting used in parlors and food processing areas, “I feel it is the most important light in the barn. It really is very beneficial to proper animal care. The main goal here is to clean, clean, clean, to lower the somatic cell count, to really inspect the udder health, and for the staff members to really see what they're doing.” 

Producers investing in specialty lighting can expect reduced costs due to lower somatic cell counts, better time management with healthier cows, and adherence to USDA guidelines.

Polycarbonate Siding: Utilized in housing areas, holding pens, breezeways, and calf barns, polycarbonate siding leverages natural light to benefit animal health. Natural light aids in long-day photoperiods, suppresses melatonin, and provides warmth during colder seasons. This reduces electrical costs and helps manage air quality and movement, contributing to a sustainable and eco-friendly barn operation.

What are the Benefits of Proper Lighting?

Animal Well-Being: Proper lighting enables staff to monitor and clean all areas effectively, preventing contaminated milk and lowering somatic cell counts. Animals experience improved health, increased feed intake, and better growth rates.

Staff Safety & Morale: Well-lit environments enhance staff safety, boost morale, and increase job retention rates as they can continue to reach specific quotas and hit bonuses. If staff members can see what they’re doing, they can work quickly and efficiently. 

Compliance & Regulation: By meeting governmental regulations and safety guidelines, lighting solutions ensure compliance, which ensures you don’t have to waste money on fines and fees. Thus enhancing the farm's reputation and financial performance. Here are a few regulations to consider:

  • FDA regulations for lighting levels in food processing areas (75Fc+)
  • OSHA regulations for lighting levels in toxic handling areas, like chemical rooms (10Fc)
  • OSHA regulations for lighting levels in general work areas, like free stalls (10Fc)
  • OSHA regulations for lighting levels in restrooms (10Fc)
  • OSHA regulations for lighting levels in first aid rooms (30Fc)
  • OSHA regulations for lighting levels in the exterior (5Fc)

Lighting in your barn is a strategic investment influencing animal health, staff safety, regulatory compliance, and financial success. By choosing the right barn lighting solutions and implementing them effectively, dairy producers can create a brighter and more prosperous future for their business and herd. VES-Artex provides expertise in various lighting solutions to ensure producers and dealers select the best options for their barns.

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