Expert Insights

New Year, New Cow Comfort Resolutions

The holiday season has passed, which means New Year’s resolutions are here. While thinking about your herd’s milk production for the past year, what efforts can be made to maintain or increase productivity? Have you thought about what to improve in your barn this upcoming year? What are the best ways to improve your facility’s bottom line? While increasing your herd’s comfort is a no-brainer for increasing production, making efficient changes and updates to your facility is the ultimate financial gain. Let’s discuss what changes can be made to your ventilation, lighting, design, and water strategies to improve your cow comfort and increase your facility’s efficiency and productivity.

How Do You Improve Ventilation Efficiency?

We recommend implementing louvered circulation fans in your facility because of their performance and efficiency. It takes six to eight 50” panel fans to cover the same area as two 72” louvered circulation ECV fans because of their minimal energy to provide highly effective and controlled airflow within the cow space. In addition, their directional louvers efficiently target airflow directly onto the cows to create a focused, smooth circulation that maintains optimal airspeed. 

Nevertheless, efficient ventilation is essential to keeping your cows healthy and productive. On a past customer project, that customer was able to recoup their $700,000 investment on their 1,000-cow dairy in less than four years with improved and consistent milk production and reproduction. While results will always vary by operation, most dairies will run more profitably and more efficiently with the addition of a proper ventilation strategy

How Does Lighting Improve Your Herd’s Productivity?

Lighting in your barn is a strategic investment influencing animal health, staff safety, regulatory compliance, and financial success. Proper lighting enables staff to monitor and clean all areas effectively, preventing contaminated milk and lowering somatic cell counts. In addition, cows experience improved health, increased feed intake, and better growth rates with effective lighting solutions

Proper lighting also directly influences your cows’ well-being and productivity as it ensures a consistent and regulated circadian rhythm for animals, promoting optimal feeding, rest, and milk production. Research has found that during lactation, the target zone for daylight exposure is between 16 and 18 hours of 20 ft candles (220 Lux) intensity. In addition, well-lit environments contribute to a healthier and more comfortable environment for your animals, reducing stress among the herd and ultimately enhancing overall output.

What Design Efforts Improve Your Cow Comfort?

Our main goal with the freestall environment is to create the best environment to encourage the herd to lay down as much as possible while making it easier to move in and out of the stall. We promote animal welfare while providing cost-efficient designs that can be used in addition to existing facilities.

Our freestall divider designs provide a spacious resting area, 360⁰ head movement, adjustability, and proper indexing, which keeps your cow comfort high while encouraging their rest. The loops are also compatible with multiple mounting styles, which is great news for dairy producers with existing infrastructure. 

The BioRail mounting system is our most popular mounting system because of its versatile installation. It is available with T-Posts and various post and rail mount brackets to ensure compatibility with many existing barn designs. 

What Water Strategy Improves Your Cow Comfort?

Our Water Troughs are designed to make draining and cleaning your cow’s water source quick and easy. Its smooth construction ensures dirt, feed, and other foreign objects don’t adhere to the trough, which makes the water on your dairy clean and accessible. As a best practice, we recommend that each cow has 3 inches or more of linear drinking space within 50 feet of her living space to ensure easy access and adequate volume for cows to stay cool and hydrated.
As we prepare for the beginning of the new year, we think enhancing your barn facilities should be a top priority for ensuring the well-being and productivity of your herd. The key to a successful operation lies in recognizing the importance of comfort, and in this regard, improvements in ventilation, lighting, design, and water strategies play pivotal roles. Incorporating louvered circulation fans for efficient ventilation, strategic lighting solutions for better animal health, thoughtfully designed freestall environments, and innovative water troughs are all instrumental in creating an environment that fosters optimal conditions for your cows. Not only do these enhancements contribute to increased productivity, but they also demonstrate a commitment to animal welfare and operational efficiency. Contact one of our VES-Artex dealers for more information on how to improve your barn this year.

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